Launched in 2002, Practical Neurology is a publication uniquely dedicated to presenting current approaches to patient management, synthesis of emerging research and data, and analysis of industry news with a goal to facilitate practical application and improved clinical practice for all neurologists. Our straightforward articles give neurologists tools they can immediately put into practice.
Kybella helps patients lose their dreaded double chin and regain the taut, sculpted profile of their youth. The ingredients in Kybella are naturally made by the body, which means that you’re very likely to be satisfied with the results. It works by destroying the fat cells under the chin, making them unable to store fat any longer. Each treatment only requires 15-20 minutes, which leaves enough time to grab some sushi before you head back to the office. You’ll pay out somewhere between $1200 and $1800, but a chin tuck can cost anywhere from $1500 to $4000. Plus, Kybella doesn’t require the healing time that traditional skin liposuction does.
Botulism is an illness caused by a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three types of botulism: food-borne, wound, and infant. Symptoms include muscle paralysis, dry mouth, constipation, slurred speech, and blurred vision. If food-borne and wound botulism are detected early enough, they may be treated with an antitoxin. Infant botulism is treated intravenously with BabyBIG (Botulism Immune Globulin).
In fertility studies of BOTOX (4, 8, or 16 Units/kg) in which either male or female rats were injected intramuscularly prior to mating and on the day of mating (3 doses, 2 weeks apart for males, 2 doses, 2 weeks apart for females) to untreated animals, reduced fertility was observed in males at the intermediate and high doses and in females at the high dose. The no -effect doses for reproductive toxicity (4 Units/kg in males, 8 Units/kg in females) are approximately equal to the maximum recommended human dose of 400 Units on a body weight basis (Units/kg).
I had a consult and the doctor quickly realized that I was a candidate for Botox. He ordered an MRI and doppler of my brain to make sure everything else was A-OK, and then the rest was just waiting on my insurance company. With Botox (I’m not sure if it’s all Botox or just prescription), the insurance company orders it from a pharmacy and sends it to the doctor.
Other treatment areas that have been proven to be useful include the scalp (for migraine headaches), neck, facial and peripheral muscles (for spasms), arm pits (to inhibit sweating), the bladder and numerous other areas. The way that Botox and Dysport work is that they temporarily inhibit muscle contraction beneath the skin. When underlying muscles are relaxed the overlying folds and wrinkles are smoothed out. These injections work only by weakening underlying muscle contraction are not facial fillers like Restylane or Juvederm. Fillers and Botox or Dysport injections are not interchangeable. These injections work only by weakening underlying muscle contraction are not facial fillers like Restylane or Juvederm. Fillers are not interchangeable with Botox or Dysport injections. Fillers replace or “fill-in” lost facial volume whereas Botox or Dysport only inhibit muscle contraction.Both treatments are in fact complimentary aesthetic injections that will relax wrinkles and folds and help you regain your youthful appearance and enhance your face.
Besides the three primary U.S. manufacturers, there are numerous other botulinum toxin producers. Xeomin, manufactured in Germany by Merz, is also available for both therapeutic and cosmetic use in the U.S. Lanzhou Institute of Biological Products in China manufactures a BTX-A product; as of 2014 it was the only BTX-A approved in China. BTX-A is also sold as Lantox and Prosigne on the global market. Neuronox, a BTX-A product, was introduced by Medy-Tox Inc. of South Korea in 2009;
Postmarketing reports indicate that the effects of BOTOX and all botulinum toxin products may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with botulinum toxin effects. These may include asthenia, general ized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphagia, dysphonia, dysarthria, urinary incontinence and breathing difficulties. These symptoms have been reported hours to weeks after injection. Swallowing and breathing difficulties can be life threatening and there have been reports of death. The risk of symptoms is probably greatest in children treated for spasticity but symptoms can also occur in adults treated for spasticity and other conditions, particularly in those patients who have an underlying condition that would predispose them to these symptoms. In unapproved uses, including spasticity in children, and in approved indications, cases of spread of effect have been reported at doses comparable to those used to treat cervical dystonia and spasticity and at lower doses. [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
The ideal needle to use is a 30G or 31G, half-inch needle. Longer needles are problematic as they encourage deeper injections, which can increase the risk of muscle weakness, and most of the side effects such as neck pain stem from muscle weakness. Perseverative-free normal saline is the only diluent that should be used. There is a case study of a patient who died when onabotulinumtoxinA was mixed with a local anesthetic agent. The pivotal trial established an effective dose using 2 mL/100 units of onabotulinumtoxinA. A fact that is often overlooked is that the mean dose in the trial was 165 units. The patients all received 155 units with a fixed dose, fixed-site injection protocol, and an option of an additional 40 units to follow the pain. This resulted in a mean dose of 165 units, which is the standard that should be used to achieve the efficacy results reviewed above.
With regard to detection, current protocols using NBC detection equipment (such as M-8 paper or the ICAM) will not indicate a "positive" when samples containing botulinum toxin are tested. To confirm a diagnosis of botulinum toxin poisoning, therapeutically or to provide evidence in death investigations, botulinum toxin may be quantitated by immunoassay of human biological fluids; serum levels of 12–24 mouse LD50 units per milliliter have been detected in poisoned patients.
When I wean patients off of treatment, I do not change the dose but rather delay the treatment cycle to 16 weeks and monitor headaches in the last 4 weeks. If the patient remains well-controlled, I increase the treatment window to 20 weeks, and so on. I use this method to establish the level at which patients need reinjection to prevent breakthrough headaches.11-13
On April 6, 2016, the company announced it would partner with Heptares Therapeutics in a deal valued up to $3.3 billion to collaborate on the development of a subtype-selective muscarinic agonists for Alzheimer's disease and other major neurological disorders. On April 21, the company announced the acquisition of Topokine Therapeutics for at least $85 million, gaining the phase IIb/III compound XAF5 - a treatment for dermatochalasis. On August 2, the company sold its generic drugs business to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for $33.4 billion and 100.3 million shares of Teva. On August 11, the company announced the acquisition of ForSight VISION5 for more than $95 million. On September 6, the company acquired RetroSense Therapeutics for more than $60 million, gaining the positive photosensitivity gene therapy treatment, RST-001. RST-001 is to be used in retinas in which rod and cone photoreceptors have degenerated over time, causing in increase in the sensitivity of light hitting the retina. On September 20, the company announced the acquisition of Tobira Therapeutics for $1.695 billion and, a day later, the acquisition of Akarna Therapeutics for $50 million. On October 3, the company sold Anda, its generic drug distribution business, to Teva for $500 million. On October 25, the company acquired Vitae Pharmaceuticals, focused on dermatology treatments, for $639 million. On October 27, the company announced it would acquire Motus Therapeutics, a developer of treatments for gastrointestinal disorders, for $200 million. On November 22, 2016, the company acquired Chase Pharmaceuticals for an upfront payment of $125 million.
In recent years, a number of high-profile lawsuits have been brought against Allergan in which plaintiffs claimed that off-label uses--for ailments including a child's cerebral-palsy symptoms, for instance, or an adult's hand tremors--resulted in lasting deleterious side effects. Still, the drug's acceptance in a growing number of doctors' offices worldwide, and its revenue growth, show no signs of slowing.
"In the majority of these cases, it's the doctors at the front line who start using Botox off-label, and then we see the treatment of things we never expected the toxin to work for," says Min Dong, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who studies botulinum toxins in the lab and has no financial ties to Allergan. "I meet with physicians who are using the toxin everywhere--for diseases you would never know about."
There have been spontaneous reports of death, sometimes associated with dysphagia, pneumonia, and/or other significant debility or anaphylaxis, after treatment with botulinum toxin. There have also been reports of adverse events involving the cardiovascular system, including arrhythmia and myocardial infarction, some with fatal outcomes. Some of these patients had risk factors including cardiovascular disease. The exact relationship of these events to the botulinum toxin injection has not been established.
The FDA approval was based on a large study showing that Botox significantly reduced migraine frequency and severity, as well as headache-related disability, compared to placebo. As just one measure of its effectiveness, many of my patients report that they’ve cut their use of rescue medications in half since starting Botox – a significant benefit for people who previously had to resort to rescue medications 15 or more times every month.
BOTOX® is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause a form of muscle paralysis known as botulism, which is usually associated with food poisoning. Even though one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted (weakened) amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles, causing controlled relaxation of the muscles.
According to the PREEMPT paradigm, one injection of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA into four sites (total 20 units) into the frontalis muscle is done. The injection points are located by visually drawing a line up from the medial edge of the supraorbital rim. Patients will be injected into the muscle in the upper third of the forehead at least 1 to 2 fingerbreadths above the corrugator injection site. The lateral muscle injection areas are parallel and approximately 1 fingerbreadth lateral to the medial injection site, which is roughly in line with either the midpupillary line or the lateral edge of the cornea, which is the limbus line. In cases in which I am worried about ptosis, I inject the frontalis close to the hairline. In order to reduce the risk of these unwanted effects, injections should be administered in the upper third of the forehead only. The needle should be inserted at a 45° angle superiorly. Because the frontalis is an elevator muscle, weakening can cause brow ptosis or exacerbate preexisting brow ptosis.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled patients who had extended histories of receiving and tolerating BOTOX injections, with prior individualized adjustment of dose. The mean BOTOX dose administered to patients in this study was 236 Units (25th to 75th percentile range of 198 Units to 300 Units). The BOTOX dose was divided among the affected muscles [see Clinical Studies].
In patients who are not catheterizing, post-void residual (PVR) urine volume should be assessed within 2 weeks post treatment and periodically as medically appropriate up to 12 weeks, particularly in patients with multiple sclerosis or diabetes mellitus. Depending on patient symptoms, institute catheterization if PVR urine volume exceeds 200 mL and continue until PVR falls below 200 mL. Instruct patients to contact their physician if they experience difficulty in voiding as catheterization may be required.
Botox® neurotoxin treatment helps control the symptoms of severe underarm sweating when topical medicines do not work well enough by temporarily blocking the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. When the sweat glands don’t receive chemical signals, the severe sweating stops. Botox® injections are expected to temporarily stop the production of excessive sweat in the treated areas only. Sweat continues to be produced elsewhere.
Still, Botox's use for depression raises a question that confounds some researchers. In some cases, how Botox works is evident: the toxin can block the signals between nerves and muscles, which is why it can help calm an overactive bladder, say, or a twitching eye, or the facial muscles that make wrinkles more apparent. In other cases, however (with migraines as well as with depression), scientists are flummoxed. They may have noticed that the drug works for a given condition, but they aren't always sure why--in sciencespeak, they don't know what the mechanism is.
In the mid- to late-1990’s dermatologists were the first to report headache relief to migraineurs who were receiving BOTOX injections to reduce facial (forehead) wrinkles. Initially there was significant controversy about whether BOTOX really did help migraine patients. The use of BOTOX for treatment of tension headaches was studied and found to be no more effective than placebo. With migraines, it was more complex. In 2009 the data showed that BOTOX injected in particular areas of the head and neck in patients who met the International Classification of Headache Disorders criteria for chronic migraine provided sufficient benefit to recommend the treatment modality. In 2010, the FDA approved BOTOX for chronic migraine and recommended the protocol of injections and treatment frequency that had been successful in the studies.
On July 7, 2015, the company acquired the rights to the late stage CGRP migraine portfolio of Merck & Co, as well as two experimental drugs (MK-1602 and MK-8031) for an upfront payment of $250 million. On August 10, the company acquired Oculeve for $125 million. On August 31, the company acquired Naurex for an upfront payment of $560 million. On October 19, the company acquired AqueSys, developer of ocular implants that reduce intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma, for an initial payment of $300 million. On October 1, the company acquired Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, a company focused on the medical aesthetics market, for $2.1 billion. On November 4 the company announced the acquisition of Northwood Medical Innovation, developer of earFold, a medical device to correct protruding ears. On November 25, 2015, the company announced it would partner with Rugen Therapeutic to develop new therapies for autism spectrum disorder, rabies and obsessive compulsive disorder.
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The FDA approved such usage in the late 1980s upon the discovery that Botox could stop ailments like blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Doctors have been using Botox for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. In April 2002, Botox gained FDA approval for treatment of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows - called glabellar lines. However, Botox is often used for other areas of the face as well.
Dr. Schwedt believes ARMR offers hope for patients living with migraine. “ARMR data could lead to breakthroughs in the field,” he says. One hope for ARMR is that it will contribute to the ability for health care providers to use precision medicine to treat their patients. Clinical trials show which migraine therapies are overall effective for groups of people with migraine; however, health care providers are still working to understand which specific therapy is ideal for a particular patient. “One of the challenges we have in this field right now is being able to determine which exact therapy is going to be best for which patient,” Dr. Schwedt says. “For example, we might know that about 50% of patients will benefit from a specific migraine preventive therapy, but we don’t know in advance which 50% that is. I believe the data we’re collecting in ARMR is going to help us get to the stage where we can practice precision medicine, knowing which therapy is most likely to help an individual patient prior to the patient starting that therapy.”
A BOTOX “treatment” consists of 31 injections to the head and neck areas, if adherence to the FDA approved protocol is followed. Except for injection into the procerus, which is in the midline, all others are paired sets of injections on the left and right sides. Muscles included are the frontalis and temporalis areas as well as the occipitalis, upper cervical paraspinals, and trapezii. The amount injected at each of the 31 injection sites is small—5 units of BOTOX in a volume of 0.1 mL normal saline or sterile water. A total of 155 units is are typically used.
Tell your doctor if you received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic injection; take muscle relaxants; take allergy or cold medicines; take sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.
“Botox is a completely cosmetic procedure, so if and when someone ‘needs’ it is a purely personal decision,” Shah says. “Some people are not bothered by developing fine lines and wrinkles. For those who are, I generally advise starting treatments just when they start to see the lines develop, or when the wrinkles linger even after the movement has stopped.”
Finding an experienced practitioner is particularly important if you’ve never had Botox treatments before as he or she will devise an optimal treatment plan to address your forehead wrinkles. Furthermore, with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon you’ll be far less likely to experience any side effects like pain, bruising around the injection site, droopy eyelids, or mistakenly be administered too much Botox, leaving your face looking frozen for the next several months.
Patients with diabetes mellitus treated with BOTOX® were more likely to develop urinary retention than nondiabetics. In clinical trials, 12.3% of patients (10/81) with diabetes developed urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 100 Units vs 0% of patients (0/69) treated with placebo. In patients without diabetes, 6.3% of patients (33/526) developed urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 100 Units vs 0.6% of patients (3/516) treated with placebo.
In two double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in patients with detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition (NDO-1 and NDO-2), the proportion of subjects who were not using clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) prior to inject ion and who subsequently required catheterization for urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX 200 Units or placebo is shown in Table 9. The duration of post-injection catheterization for those who developed urinary retention is also shown.
The safety and effectiveness of BOTOX® for hyperhidrosis in other body areas have not been established. Weakness of hand muscles and blepharoptosis may occur in patients who receive BOTOX® for palmar hyperhidrosis and facial hyperhidrosis, respectively. Patients should be evaluated for potential causes of secondary hyperhidrosis (eg, hyperthyroidism) to avoid symptomatic treatment of hyperhidrosis without the diagnosis and/or treatment of the underlying disease.
But even if the laws remain unchanged, as long as off-label uses are permitted by law, expect doctors to keep pushing the boundaries of Botox's applications--sometimes in the name of medical progress and sometimes with remarkable results.Norman Rosenthal, the Maryland psychiatrist who recommended Botox for his suicidal patient, says he's seen the upside firsthand. The patient, persuaded by Rosenthal, did indeed get Botox shots on his forehead and between his brows. Days later, Rosenthal got an email from the patient. It was a thank-you note. Finally, the patient wrote, he was feeling better.
In May, hedge fund Appaloosa Management, run by David Tepper, received antitrust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission to potentially increase its stake in the Botox-maker. This means that Appaloosa now has more flexibility to push for further changes at Allergan. It remains to be seen if that happens, but if so, it could mean more changes are ahead for the drugmaker.
The migraines started later in life, before my lupus diagnosis. While sometimes they’d come out of the blue or I’d wake up with them, other times I’d see them coming. From a neurologist’s suggestion, I learned some of my “triggers” such as weather changes (specifically, drops in barometric pressure and incoming storms), hormonal changes and dairy. This past year I significantly reduced my dairy intake and although that didn’t eliminate the migraines, if I did eat dairy, I was sure to get one. Many of my migraines would also start as tension headaches. My neck is always extremely tight and eventually the constant tightness causes a migraine. Due to this, my old rheumatologist suggested taking a muscle relaxer at the beginning of a headache or before bed to keep my muscles from tensing up overnight and preventing a migraine. It worked sometimes… but definitely not enough.
Step therapy is largely unregulated both at the state and federal level, though individual states have started to pass legislation to limit step therapy and protect patients: 19 US states, including California, Mississippi, and Illinois, have laws that require insurance companies to grant certain exemptions or to review appeals from doctors within 72 hours so patients can get a waiver. But even then, getting a waiver isn’t always easy.
The cost of a Botox treatment is usually communicated as a flat cost, but can also be measured in individual injectable units. Each unit usually costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $15, but prices vary between geographic areas and between individual clinics. How many units are needed per treatment will depend on which areas of your face are being treated, and on your individual facial anatomy.
Contrary to popular belief, the bacteria that causes botulism, clostridium botulinum, is not part of the treatment, nor are six of the seven neurotoxins it secretes. The only substance used in Botox injections, botulinum toxin A, is carefully extracted, purified, and standardized into FDA-approved doses. Plus, the dosage is so small, it can't get beyond the muscle tissue it's injected into, meaning there's little if any chance for Botox to reach the bloodstream.
Jump up ^ Arnon SS, Schechter R, Inglesby TV, Henderson DA, Bartlett JG, Ascher MS, Eitzen E, Fine AD, Hauer J, Layton M, Lillibridge S, Osterholm MT, O'Toole T, Parker G, Perl TM, Russell PK, Swerdlow DL, Tonat K (February 2001). "Botulinum toxin as a biological weapon: medical and public health management". JAMA. 285 (8): 1059–70. doi:10.1001/jama.285.8.1059. PMID 11209178.
BOTOX is administered about every three months, and must be injected at the site of each nerve trigger, relaxing the surrounding muscles so that they won’t compress the nerve and trigger a migraine. It is a potent drug, and we only recommend using it if other preventative treatment options haven’t helped you. It is generally only administered to patients who have at least 14 headaches a month, or don’t respond to other treatments.
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The cost for Botox may range from $125 to $400 per treatment area. Multiple areas may be treated at one time, and repeat treatments are needed every three to four months, on average. When it comes to Botox and other injectables, you get what you pay for. Buyer beware: bargain Botox may increase your risk of complications, including poor cosmetic results. If the cost is prohibitive, ask your doctor about payment plans.
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I always tell my patients that you get what you pay for. However, you need to advocate for yourself and understand what you are getting for your dollars. Ensure that your injector is experienced and properly trained; that you are getting FDA approved Botox Cosmetic from Allergan; and know how many units you receive. As well, a physician's office should maintain a medical record of your treatments so you can optimize and customize your Botox to achieve the best effect and value. Good Luck!
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As anyone who’s tried Botox for Migraine (or wrinkle reduction) will tell you, your forehead feels heavier after the injections are done, where the nerve endings are in essence frozen. As in ‘Frozen Face.’ Little to no movement, depending on how many units you receive and where they are injected. In my case, my usually expressive face didn’t track with my emotions: no raised eyebrows of surprise or delight or shock.
That said, there are a few things I'd make sure everyone knows before trying it. For one thing, it can be pretty painful. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but getting 30 to 40 shots every three months is pretty rough — it feels a bit like getting tattooed with a bee's stinger, but once the needle is out of your skin, the pain goes away, and if it works for you, it's worth it. It's also important to know that it can take some time to work. The first treatment barely worked at all for me, and the second round took a few weeks. If you're going to try it out, be patient.
"As we get older, we lose volume in our face and hyaluronic acid filler can be used as a replacement,” explains Wexler. "For younger women, injections can be used to treat areas with acne scarring or hollowness under the eyes." During your ‘20s, when the face is at its fullest and healthiest, it has been argued that a shadowy gaze can even be quite charming. But in other cases, hereditary dark circles can result in a persistently tired look, which is where a few drops of filler under the eyes may be useful. As top dermatologist David Colbert, M.D. is quick to note, however, too much Botox and filler distorts the face and as a result will make you appear older. “When the line is crossed everyone starts looking like they are related," he also cautions of a uniform cookie-cutter appearance that lacks character or individuality. Or worse. “It’s a snowball effect of people liking something, coming back too soon [for even more], and then it gets too heavy,” adds Wexler.
According to Ravitz, it's very effective among a large sampling of her patients and is usually very well tolerated. She says some of her patients find that it even eliminates the need for medication, which is a huge deal. However, she also says, "About 7 to 10 percent of my patients find that it’s not effective and they actually feel worse during that time." As with any medical procedure, everybody (and everyone's actual body) is different and will respond to treatment differently, and it's best to do a healthy amount of research and thoroughly talk to your doctor about your body and medical history before making a decision.
It’s important to set up reasonable expectations for your Botox experience. “Botox does not get rid of all wrinkles on your face—it gets rid of wrinkles made from expressions,” Dr. Waibel explains. “It improves the appearance of these wrinkles by relaxing the muscles. It does not get rid of what we call static wrinkles—the ones that are seen at rest when looking in the mirror.” If those wrinkles bother you, talk to your dermatologist about the laser treatments that can help smooth them out. Find out the 13 craziest requests plastic surgeons have received.
University-based ophthalmologists in the USA and Canada further refined the use of botulinum toxin as a therapeutic agent. By 1985, a scientific protocol of injection sites and dosage had been empirically determined for treatment of blepharospasm and strabismus. Side effects in treatment of this condition were deemed to be rare, mild and treatable. The beneficial effects of the injection lasted only 4–6 months. Thus, blepharospasm patients required re-injection two or three times a year.
Two years later, Allergan bought Oculinum for $9 million and changed the drug's name to Botox. At the time, Allergan was primarily an ocular-care company that sold products like contact-lens cleaners and prescription solutions for dry eyes, bringing in about $500 million in annual sales. Allergan says it saw Botox as a drug for a niche population: it's estimated that 4% of people in the U.S. have crossed eyes, for which the drug was initially approved, and Allergan made about $13 million in sales from the drug by the end of 1991.
The safety and efficacy of onabotulinumtoxinA for CM was demonstrated in the pivotal phase III Research Evaluating Migraine Prophylaxis Therapy (PREEMPT) trial. In this trial, patients were treated every 12 weeks whether or not their headaches had returned to baseline levels and the primary outcome period was after two treatment cycles. At baseline, these patients had more than 19 headache days, and after two treatment cycles, their headaches had been reduced by 8 to 9 days per 28 days. The responder rate analysis of the study population shows that about 25% of patients improved by 75% in terms of a reduction of migraine days. In my practice, I usually do three cycles 12 weeks apart, and only if there is no change in headache frequency after this, do I change treatments. In the pivotal trials, the first statistical separation from placebo occurred in the first 4 weeks. There is a small subgroup of patients who fail to respond to the first two treatments and only start to respond after the third treatment.4-10
Treatment with BOTOX® and other botulinum toxin products can result in swallowing or breathing difficulties. Patients with pre-existing swallowing or breathing difficulties may be more susceptible to these complications. In most cases, this is a consequence of weakening of muscles in the area of injection that are involved in breathing or oropharyngeal muscles that control swallowing or breathing (see Boxed Warning).
Dubbed as the “little neurotoxin that could,” by USA Today, Botox now boasts sales of well over $1 billion for its manufacturer, Allergan. Many of us who start to see our migraine-furrowed forehead lines show up in our 30s think: hey, maybe Botox for migraine could help me too. But before you say “heck yes!” at the next Botox party or med-spa, be sure you know what you’re getting into.
Botox gained popularity and notoriety as a wrinkle reducer in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But it wasn’t long before researchers recognized the potential of Botox for treating medical conditions, too. Today it’s used to treat problems such as repetitive neck spasms, eye twitching, and overactive bladder. In 2010, the FDA approved Botox as a preventive treatment option for chronic migraines.
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The co-primary endpoints were the average of the change from baseline in modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) ankle score at Week 4 and Week 6, and the average of the Physician Global Assessment of Response (CGI) at Week 4 and Week 6. The CGI evaluated the response to treatment in terms of how the patient was doing in his/her life using a 9-point scale from -4=very marked worsening to +4=very marked improvement).
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Dr. Starling says the FDA approval indicates that the anti-CGRP treatments are ideal for individuals with episodic migraine who have four to 14 headache days per month, and people with chronic migraine who have 15 or more headache days per month. Clinical trials are also being conducted to see if anti-CGRP antibodies are effective for the treatment of cluster headache. “The initial studies have demonstrated that it’s likely effective for cluster headache patients,” Dr. Starling says. The FDA’s approval of these medications has been incredibly meaningful for the migraine community. “The migraine community is feeling like they’re relevant—that they’re being seen, heard and taken seriously,” Dr. Starling says. “There are many people who are working hard to develop more treatment options until we can address every patient who has migraine, and eventually find a cure.”
Results can vary depending on who is performing the injection on the patient. It is very important to go to a physician who is experienced at this procedure, does it him- or herself (rather than having a nurse, physician's assistant [PA], or other nonphysician do it), and has a good reputation for performing this type of procedure. The manufacturers of Botox recommend physicians inject the medication themselves. As with most procedures, the skill of the practitioner is related to how often he or she performs the procedure.