Botox Approved to Prevent Chronic Migraines

Botox injectionThe FDA has approved Botox as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine headaches in adults. Migraines’ three times more common in women than men are characterized by intense pulsing or throbbing pain. Chronic migraine patients have a headache more than 14 days of the month.

For chronic migraine, Botox is given about every 12 weeks as multiple injections around the head and neck to try to dull future headache symptoms. Researchers are still trying to determine how Botox works on migraines, but one theory is that it blocks pain signals from reaching nerve endings.

Last year Botox worldwide sales were divided equally between medical and cosmetic uses, reports the New York Times. However, Allergan, the maker of Botox, believes its sales as a medical treatment may soon eclipse its sales as a cosmetic wrinkle treatment. The injectable is also approved to treat uncontrolled blinking; crossed eyes; certain neck muscle spasms; underarm sweating; and muscle spasticity in the hands and elbows.

In other Botox news, British scientists report that they’ve developed a way to refine the anti-wrinkle treatment to improve its use for treating Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy and chronic migraine. The researchers produced a refined Botox-like molecule, which they said would be practical for clinical use but would not have unwanted toxic effects.

“It will now be possible to produce Botox-based medicines in a safer and more economical way,” said Bazbek Davletov, who led the study at Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

Davletov said the new refining technique could allow scientists to produce new forms of Botox with wider practical medicinal uses, for example as a long-term painkiller.

Read the FDA press release on its approval of Botox to treat chronic migraine and the article on refining Botox, Scientists Find Way to Refine Botox for New Uses.

Botox Approved to Treat Migraines in U.K.

Woman with eyes closed Botox has been approved in the U.K. as a tool for preventing chronic migraine headaches. Best known as a wrinkle treatment, it can now be used on migraine patients in the U.K. who have headaches at least 15 days a month, including migraines on 8 days, according to Allergan’s press release.

The clinical trial involved almost 1,400 adults who had a history of migraines. Participants experienced 15 or more headache days of which at least half were migraine or probable migraine during the 28-day baseline period. After the baseline period, patients were randomized to receive either Botox injections or placebo.

By week 24 following treatment, those who received Botox averaged 8.2 fewer migraine days, which was significantly greater than the change from baseline observed in placebo treated patients of 6.2 days.

Migraine symptoms may include severe headache; visual disturbances such as spots or flashing lights; sensitivity to light, noise, or smells; and nausea and vomiting.

“We have been following these studies really closely and the evidence is really pretty solid. These people spend half their lives in pain. Even if they get half the attacks, it can really improve their quality of life,” said Lee Tomkins, director of Migraine Action, a charity that provides information and support to those who suffer from migraines and their families throughout the U.K. and overseas.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may decide this month whether the product can be sold for migraines, Aaron Gal, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst in New York, said in May.

In the U.S., Botox can be used to treat eye muscle spasms and wrinkles, and there are also many off-label uses for Botox, such as to relax muscles in stroke patients and to treat excessive sweating.

According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botox was the number one minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure in 2009 in the United States.

Botox May Fight Pain in Addition to Wrinkles

Botox logoEveryone knows that Botox fights wrinkles; a new study shows it could also fight pain in some patients with a debilitating nerve compression disorder called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).

Researchers at Johns Hopkins reported that patients treated with a single, low-dose injection of Botox in a neck muscle had a reduction in short-term pain.

The study, published in Pain Medicine, suggests that Botox could be a minimally-invasive alternative to the surgery used to treat TOS, which involves removal of the first rib and severing one of the muscles in the neck.

Paul J. Christo, M.D., M.B.A., an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the studyâ??s lead author, says: There haven’t been many alternatives to the use of surgery to treat this syndrome. Botox seems to be an effective treatment that avoids surgery’s obvious drawbacks, such as its invasive nature and long recovery time.

To maintain the results, Botox injections would have to be repeated every few months, since the effects donâ??t last. Dr. Christo says patients should be able to receive repeated injections of Botox into the muscle over time, though some could develop antibodies to the compound with excessive use, which would mean the toxin would no longer block pain.

As research continues on this new use for Botox, its use as a wrinkle fighter is as popular as ever. The most recent procedural statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons showed it was the number one minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure performed last year in the country. It is also one of the procedures Dr. Jonov performs in his state-certified officed-based surgery center in Seattle.

For more information on this new use for Botox, read the Johns Hopkins Medicine release titled Botox Eases Nerve Pain in Certain Patients.

Minimally Invasive Procedures, Allergan Earnings Both Up

If Allergan Inc is an accurate meter of demand for plastic surgery then an economic recovery is definitely in the works for plastic surgeons.

First quarter earnings for the Botox maker are way up. Second quarter forecasts, according to the Wall Street Journal, are way ahead of expectations. Given the procedure statistics just released by the ASPS, their success shouldnâ??t be so surprising. According to the society, minimally invasive procedures have increased an incredible 99 percent this decade.

Chart image courtesy of the ASPS

Topping the list are wrinkle fillers and botulinum toxin injections, two treatments in which plastic surgeons will likely utilize an Allergan product. It doesnâ??t hurt to that Allergan is on the cutting-edge of aesthetic medicine either. With the new “no-pain” Juvederm Ultra XC making its way to cosmetic practices and the increasing popularity of Latisse, Allergan’s unique eyelash enhancement drug.

Black market Botox story reminds about importance of qualifications

botoxA California dermatologist was recently slapped for using “black market Botox” – he was reprimanded for injecting non-FDA approved botulinum toxin into ten of his patients.

In an effort to save some money, he and a hundred or so of his colleagues purchased the black market Botox at medical conventions without realizing it wasn’t approved for use in patients.

This story highlights just how important it is to find a reputable, board-certified cosmetic surgeon for your procedures, whether they are something as simple as Botox or something more complicated.

Dr. Jonov is a well-respected surgeon in Seattle with extensive experience using Botox injections to melt away wrinkles.

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