Weird way to get Botox...
Today I got a bunch of injections of Botox. At least it might be Botox - or it might be saline.
You see, my neurologist enrolled me in a study to assess the effectiveness of Botox as a migraine treatment. To qualify for the study, you have to have lots of headaches, can't have had Botox in the past, and various other requirements which apparently I met. I just finished the preliminary phase (4 weeks) in which I had to phone into a daily diary every evening to report on my headache status for the day. It takes quite a bit of time if you have had a headache because there is a whole slew of questions to answer. If you've not had a headache, it just reminds you to call the next day.
Today was the day I went in to find out whether or not I'd been accepted into the study and I was, so I got my first round of injections. I do this once every 3 months for a total of 5 rounds. The first 2 are part of a double-blind study, meaning 50% of the participants get a placebo and 50% get Botox. They don't tell you, of course, which you're getting, but I'm thinking it must be noticeable if you get the real stuff!
The last 3 rounds are always Botox. I must continue to phone in every day throughout the study. I'm able to take my regular migraine medication during the study, too.
The study is needed to get FDA approval for Botox as a migraine treatment, which means that then you could get insurance to pay for it as such. There is already substantial evidence that it is effective but it is expensive (the cost for what I had today is approximately $1000, according to a magazine article I read) if you have to pay out of pocket. This is still less expensive than my current treatment (Imitrex injections), which have been limited in the past few years by my prescription provider so that I've had to make a few trips to the emergency room.
I don't know whether or not Botox is a treatment I'd use indefinitely, but I am hoping that my participation in the study will help others. The more options available, the better off we are, IMO, since not everyone responds to the same medications.
And just maybe I won't have frown lines for a while :) Oh yes, they do pay you $1275 for the complete study and the treatments are free, of course. The downside is that you get a LOT of injections. I had 34 today in my forehead, temples, neck, and shoulders. I would think that if I got real Botox, I would soon notice a difference, don't you think?
Anyway, my doctor said that they are still accepting study participants so if anyone is interested, I could pass along more info. I believe there are 50 study sites in the U.S. and Canada and they want something like 1500 people to take part.