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 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 toxin’s properties as a medical treatment. BOTOX, used for cosmetic procedures to reduce wrinkles, is 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 were that it offered significant if a temporary improvement to deeper lines and wrinkles that topical products could not improve. 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 for 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 prevent 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 its effect will gradually weaken after that. Re-treatment 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 price 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.
In a few cases, insurance can cover a portion of or all of the costs of the procedure. The cost varies widely depending on the individual policy. In Canada, it can be challenging to have Medicare cover BOTOX for treating hyperhidrosis. Generally, other treatments that cost less will be recommended first.