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.

Andrew M. Blumenfeld is director of The Headache Center of Southern California. Most of his research has focused on the use of OnabotulinumtoxinA in the treatment of chronic migraine. He helped develop the injection paradigm approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and has taught providers around the world on practical aspects of this treatment option.


How Long Do Botox Treatments Last?  Before you begin you should know that effects of Botox last about three to four months. That’s all – when practitioners make claim that it lasts longer don’t believe them because it doesn’t. So when you factor in the cost of Botox or Dysport you should know that in order to maintain the beneficial effects of these injections you will probably repeat the treatment three to four times a year.
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.
The most frequently reported adverse reactions following injection of BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine vs placebo include, respectively: neck pain (9% vs 3%), headache (5% vs 3%), eyelid ptosis (4% vs < 1%), migraine (4% vs 3%), muscular weakness (4% vs < 1%), musculoskeletal stiffness (4% vs 1%), bronchitis (3% vs 2%), injection-site pain (3% vs 2%), musculoskeletal pain (3% vs 1%), myalgia (3% vs 1%), facial paresis (2% vs 0%), hypertension (2% vs 1%), and muscle spasms (2% vs 1%).
Botulinum toxin injections are one approach to the treatment of muscle spasticity. These injections can be given with ease and have minimal side effects. They can also be used in very focal spasticity problems that involve a few muscle groups. This treatment may not be right for some patients, such as patients with severe, widespread muscle spasticity, and patients with permanent muscle contractures that have become rigid.
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.
Postmarketing reports indicate that the effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic and all botulinum toxin products may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with botulinum toxin effects. These may include asthenia, generalized 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.

Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.
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.
Autonomic dysreflexia associated with intradetrusor injections of BOTOX could occur in patients treated for detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition and may require prompt medical therapy. In clinical trials, the incidence of autonomic dysreflexia was greater in patients treated with BOTOX 200 Units compared with placebo (1.5% versus 0.4%, respectively).
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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.
The needle should be inserted approximately 2 mm into the detrusor, and 20 injections of 0.5 mL each (total volume of 10 mL) should be spaced approximately 1 cm apart (see Figure 1). For the final injection, approximately 1 mL of sterile normal saline should be injected so that the remaining BOTOX in the needle is delivered to the bladder. After the injections are given, patients shou ld demonstrate their ability to void prior to leaving the clinic. The patient should be obser ved for at least 30 minutes post-injection and until a spontaneous void has occurred.
There have been reports following administration of BOTOX® of adverse events involving the cardiovascular system, including arrhythmia and myocardial infarction, some with fatal outcomes. Some of these patients had risk factors including pre-existing cardiovascular disease. Use caution when administering to patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.
Prior to injection, reconstitute each vacuum-dried vial of BOTOX with only sterile, preservative-free 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection USP. Draw up the proper amount of diluent in the appropriate size syringe (see Table 1, or for specific instructions for detr usor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition see Section 2.3), and slowly inject the diluent into the vial. Discard the vial if a vacuum does not pull the diluent into the vial. Gently mix BOTOX with the saline by rotating the vial. Record the date and time of reconstitution on the space on the label. BOTOX should be administered within 24 hours after reconstitution. During this time period, reconstituted BOTOX should be stored in a refrigerator (2° to 8°C).

Keep in mind that the price is often reflective of experience and quality. Botox injections gone wrong can lead to a  "Botox face", a droopy eyelid, migraine headaches, and frozen facial expressions. Unskilled or inexperienced injectors may also cause excessive bruising and more asymmetric results. Experienced plastic surgeons and dermatologists who are good Botox injectors can be much more expensive than injectors with limited experience.
Not a Botox patient? Listen anyway. This is good practice for asking the price for other medical procedures like an MRI or a colonoscopy, where the information can be much harder to get. The common replies you could get: “What’s your insurance?” “We can’t tell you because it depends on your deductible.” “We don’t know.” “You’ll have to call billing.”

"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."


It can also be expensive. Depending on your insurance, it can cost quite a lot of money — I've changed insurance providers since I first started, and my first provider was around $330 a month and charged me around $1,000 per Botox round (remember, that's four times a year). My new plan is much more expensive, around $600 a month, but the Botox copay is only $30 each time, so even if Botox is the only medical procedure I need to have done in the year, it made sense to switch.

Some critics say Botox makes you lose all the personality from your face, leaving you with a significantly less range of motion when you laugh, or get angry or upset. While it’s true that your movement will be restricted, a moderate amount of Botox will still allow you to react and communicate in a lively way. “Botox relaxes the wrinkle-forming facial muscles at the sight of injection, such as crow’s feet, glabella (the ‘furrows’ in between the brows), and frontalis (forehead lines),” Dr. Waibel says. “Botox does not affect other facial muscles that are used for overall facial expressions.”

I usually keep my patients on migraine preventative medications until we have seen sufficient relief of migraine to warrant a taper to a lower dose or even an attempt at medication discontinuation. Patients are free to use their typical migraine abortive medications for breakthrough migraines. There are some patients that find that they still require their other anti-migraine medications for full migraine control.


BOTOX injections for migraines is a preventative treatment, rather than treating the condition with pain medication. It was FDA-approved in 2010 and is considered an appropriate treatment for adults who experience migraine headaches more than 15 days per month, for more than three months. The product blocks the release of certain brain chemicals, and it is believed that blocking these chemicals limits the nerve signals causing pain.
Tell your doctor if you have 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 by injection; take muscle relaxants; take an allergy or cold medicine; take a sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.
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