Most people think about wrinkles when they hear about BOTOX. The other use that is not nearly as well known is for treating excess sweating.
What is BOTOX exactly?
BOTOX is the trade name for a medication that is based on botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin that is a by-product of a bacterium. It is a dangerous poison that can cause a potentially lethal condition called botulism. In the 1980s, research was being conducted to use the properties of the toxin as a medical treatment. BOTOX, used for cosmetic procedures, to reduce wrinkles, are the most successful branch of this research. BOTOX used for this purpose is safe, using minimal amounts of the toxin to isolate its effects to the injected area.
BOTOX, used for the treatment of wrinkles, was one of the most successful commercial drugs. The main benefits of BOTOX was that it offered significant, if temporary improvement to deeper lines and wrinkles that could not be improved by topical products. Low risk, high efficacy, and little recovery time made this drug a convenient solution, and the brand name BOTOX is now known worldwide.
BOTOX can also be used to treat hyperhidrosis. Similar to its well known use--treating wrinkles, the toxin's effect of freezing the nerves is used to control excess sweating. The toxin blocks signals that communicate with each other and prevents the sweat producing process from starting in the treated area.
How long does it last?
Like BOTOX used for treating wrinkles, the effect is temporary. The treatment lasts from 6 to 8 months, and will its effect will gradually weaken after that. Retreatment will be necessary at that point to contain excessive sweating again.
How much does treatment cost and does insurance cover it?
As re-treatment will be required every 6-8 months, treatment costs can become significant without insurance coverage. The exact costs will vary depending on several factors. The performing surgeon's reputation and the local market for these procedures are some of them. The most important factor, however, is the amount of BOTOX that is being injected. As a guideline, $800 to $1800 can be a reasonable estimate for a typical treatment.
Insurance can, in a few cases, cover a portion of, or all of the costs of the procedure. This varies widely depending on the individual policy. In Canada, it can be difficult to have Medicare cover BOTOX for treating hyperhidrosis. Generally, other treatments that cost less will be recommended first.