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.
Botox comes as a crystalline substance from the manufacturer, which then has to be reconstituted with saline or another liquid. Practitioners add varying amounts of liquid when reconstituting it. Although there is no right or wrong amount of liquid to add, most physicians add about 2 mL-3 mL (about a half a teaspoon) of liquid to each vial. Some add quite a bit more, which can lead patients to think they are getting more Botox when, in reality, they are getting the same or less amount of Botox than samples reconstituted in a stronger way. It is the total dose of medication, not the volume of liquid, that leads to the desired effect.
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.
In double-blind, placebo-controlled chronic migraine efficacy trials (Study 1 and Study 2), the discontinuation rate was 12% in the BOTOX treated group and 10% in the placebo-treated group. Discontinuations due to an adverse event were 4% in the BOTOX group and 1% in the placebo group. The most frequent adverse events leading to discontinuation in the BOTOX group were neck pain, headache, worsening migraine, muscular weakness and eyelid ptosis.
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In response to the occurrence of these side effects, in 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified the public of the potential dangers of the botulinum toxin as a therapeutic. Namely, they warned that the toxin can spread to areas distant from the site of injection and paralyze unintended muscle groups, especially when used for treating muscle spasticity in children treated for cerebral palsy. In 2009, the FDA announced that boxed warnings would be added to available botulinum toxin products, warning of their ability to spread from the injection site. Additionally, the FDA announced name changes to several botulinum toxin products, meant to emphasize that the products are not interchangeable and require different doses for proper use. Botox and Botox Cosmetic were renamed onabotulinumtoxinA, Myobloc was renamed rimabotulinumtoxinB, and Dysport name renamed abobotulinumtoxinA. In conjunction with this, the FDA issued a communication to health care professionals reiterating the new drug names and the approved uses for each. A similar warning was issued by Health Canada in 2009, warning that botulinum toxin products can spread to other parts of the body.
When most people see the results of Botox, they are extremely pleased. Botox’s ability to iron out wrinkles is pretty impressive. The fine lines and wrinkles that were all you could see in the mirror appear much less severe and the overall appearance is refreshed and more relaxed and rejuvenated. Botox results typically last up to six months. Botox also acts as a preventative measure for wrinkles, as it prevents repetitive folding of the skin that come from the frequency of making expressions. By injecting Botox before wrinkles even form, you’re setting the stage for a younger look for years to come.
Of 1242 overactive bladder patients in placebo-controlled clinical studies of BOTOX, 41.4% (n=514) were 65 years of age or older, and 14.7% (n=182) were 75 years of age or older. Adverse reactions of UTI and urinary retention were more common in patients 65 years of age or older in both placebo and BOTOX groups compared to younger patients (see Table 18). Otherwise, there were no overall differences in the safety profile following BOTOX treatment between patients aged 65 years and older compared to youn ger patients in these studies.
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Who is injecting your Botox? Injecting Botox is deceptively easy. After all, it looks like the nurse or physician just takes a little fluid and squirts into facial muscles, and Walla ! Perfection! The answer is No! You should choose a specialist with years of experience and the ability to assess your facial features to create the best treatment plan possible. Because when Botox is injected in the wrong place it can produce unwanted side-effects that you might find disturbing. For instance if the injector “chases” a wrinkle across your forehead and it happens to be too close to your central eyebrow then the Botox or Dysport can drift downward inhibiting a muscle that lifts your eyelid resulting in a drooped upper eyelid. I know you don’t want that! Or if the practitioner injects only your “11” frown lines between your brows and does not inject other areas of your brow to balance out the effect then you may get a “boomerang”brow – a “Spock”-like overarched brow that looks hideous. So like everything else experience counts but more experience usually translates into a more expensive treatment sessions. However, avoiding complications can save you money and aggravation in the long run.
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.
Symptoms of overdose are likely not to be present immediately following injection. Should accidental injection or oral ingest ion occur or overdose be suspected, the person should be medically supervised for several weeks for signs and symptoms of systemic muscular weakness which could be local, or distant from the site of injection [see BOX WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. These patients should be considered for further medical evaluation and appropriate medical therapy immediately instituted, which may include hospitalization.
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