Currently, there are several anti-CGRP treatments undergoing clinical trials. Some of these treatments involve monoclonal antibodies, which reduce the activity of CGRP, potentially leading to fewer migraine attacks. One of these anti-CGRP monoclonal antibodies, erenumab (Aimovig™), has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is now available for patients. A second agent, fremanezumab (Ajovy™), was approved in September 2018. A week later, the FDA approved galcanezumab (Emgality™), making it the third anti-CGRP treatment currently on the market. Results from the clinical trials involving anti-CGRP antibodies have shown that about 50 percent of patients will have at least a 50 percent reduction in migraine days. “If you think about someone who has 20 migraine days per month, they have a 50 percent chance of having 10 or less migraine days,” Dr. Starling says. “We think that there are even these super-responders who have a 75 percent response rate, as well as super-super-responders who actually go into remission.” The results from these clinical trials are very promising, Dr. Starling adds. “The adverse events have been very minimal and the efficacy has been very good. It’s all looking up.” Dr. Starling says that although these medications are available, what really needs to be looked at is how to make them truly accessible for patients. Erenumab can cost about $7,000 per year without insurance coverage. “Insurance coverage is very, very key for the majority of our patient population,” she says. “Because the medications just came out on the market, there are still a lot of unknowns about insurance coverage.”
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).
It's a remarkable arc for a drug that only a few years ago was associated with Hollywood cocktail parties where guests came for Bellinis and left with a forehead full of Botox injections. It highlights the advances that can occur when physicians, seeking new therapies for their patients, explore creative new uses for approved drugs--basically, real-world experiments that take place largely beyond the reach of federal regulators. That, in turn, raises questions about the risks of deploying medicines in ways that have not been fully vetted. But it happens all the time.
Sometimes, because of these policies, patients are put on meds that are not approved by the FDA for the treatment of migraines, like the antidepressant amitriptyline and the high blood pressure drug verapamil. “In my experience, [verapamil is] not very effective,” says Elizabeth Loder, chief of the headache division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the former president of the American Headache Society. For the insurance companies, that doesn’t seem to matter. “It’s frustrating to patients, especially when it seems like some of the treatments that they’re required to try have a lot of side effects and haven’t really been tested that carefully for migraines.”
Richard Clark, a plastic surgeon from Sacramento (CA), was the first to document a cosmetic use for botulinum toxin. He treated forehead asymmetry caused by left sided forehead nerve paralysis that occurred during a cosmetic facelift. Since the injured nerve could possibly regenerate by 24 months, a two-year waiting period was necessary before definitive surgical treatment could be done. Clark realized that botulinum toxin, which had been previously used only for cross eyed babies and facial tics, could also be injected to smooth the wrinkles of the right forehead to match her paralyzed left. He received FDA approval for this cosmetic application of the toxin and successfully treated the person and published the case study in 1989.
Unremarkable. I mean, that’s a good thing in the MRI-reading world, but I’d like to say my brain is freakin’ remarkable sometimes. Maybe I’m biased. Anyways. Shortly after those tests, the Botox arrived at the office and I was scheduled for my injections. To say I was scared is putting it lightly. Like I mentioned before, I have a complete irrational fear of new medication. Also, I didn’t want my face to look different! So I documented my wrinkles just to see how many would last (if you want, be my guest to check out my embarrassing video). I didn’t have to wait long and before I knew it, I was in a room with my mom, my boyfriend, a neurologist and three needles.
Unlike a face lift or other kind of invasive facial rejuvenation procedure, treatment takes minutes and requires zero downtime. Using a very fine needle, Botox is injected into the facial muscles that are responsible for unsightly wrinkles and fine lines and relaxes the muscles. The ingredients in Botox block the signal from the nerve to the muscle, and therefore reduce it’s ability to contract, and form unsightly wrinkles.
I love talking about migraines. I don't do it to be a downer; I do it because talking about dealing with my chronic migraines may lead to hearing tips from another fellow sufferer, and I've tried nearly everything at this point. I've dealt with migraines for almost two decades, and as anyone who deals with them knows, having a variety of remedies in your toolbox is crucial when the pain hits.
Shah says that it’s harder to treat wrinkles with just Botox as they get more and more ingrained into the face. “Some people may need just a few injections, but some may require more treatments, such as laser treatments or a series of smaller procedures, which are going to cost more. Whereas if they came in five years earlier, I may have just been able to use Botox to get the same effect,” she says.
The most common side effects of Botox injections are neck pain and stiffness at the injection site. You may develop a headache afterward. You may also experience temporary muscle weakness in your neck and upper shoulders. This can make it hard to keep your head upright. When these side effects occur, they usually resolve on their own within a few days.
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Cornea problems have been reported. Cornea (surface of the eye) problems have been reported in some people receiving BOTOX® for their blepharospasm, especially in people with certain nerve disorders. BOTOX® may cause the eyelids to blink less, which could lead to the surface of the eye being exposed to air more than is usual. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your eyes while receiving BOTOX®. Your doctor may treat your eyes with drops, ointments, contact lenses, or with an eye patch.