Health Buzz: Botox Approved for Bladder Problems

Botox is a new route to migraine relief; are wrinkle creams worth it or not?

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FDA OKs Botox for Incontinence

Botox can now be used to treat bladder control problems in certain patients, the federal government said Wednesday. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Allergan's popular wrinkle treatment for use in patients with an overactive bladder caused by spinal cord injuries or other neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis. Botox is thought to relax the bladder while also allowing it to store more urine, which helps prevent leakage. It's also approved to treat muscle spasms, migraines, and eyelid twitching, the Associated Press reports.

  • Urinary Incontinence Is Common but Not Inevitable
  • Treating Urinary Incontinence
  • A New Route to Migraine Relief: Botox?

    Migraine sufferers who haven't found relief in prescription or over-the-counter medications can seek help from the same drug that erases crows' feet and forehead wrinkles. Last year, the FDA approved the use of Botox, delivered through a couple of dozen needle pricks around the head and neck, to prevent chronic migraines—which for approval purposes means severe headaches of four hours or more at least 15 days a month.

    But getting needled is neither risk-free nor the solution for every migraine sufferer, U.S. News reported in 2010.

    The FDA based its decision on two 24-week trials involving a total of 1,384 adults in North America and Europe. Both trials were funded by drug maker Allergan, which previously agreed to pay $600 million for illegally promoting Botox for headaches, which, at the time, were not an FDA approved use. By the end of the first trial, those who received Botox experienced 7.8 fewer migraine days during the 24 weeks than they experienced during the 24 weeks leading up to the trial compared with 6.4 fewer days for those injected with a placebo of plain salt water. The Botox group in the second trial had 9.2 fewer migraine days while the placebo group had 6.9 fewer days. Allergan published its results in the journal Cephalalgia, the medical term for headache. The differences are significant by clinical trial standards, but "not huge," says Avi Ashkenazi, a Doylestown, Pa., neurologist who has published papers on the subject, including one in Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. [Read more: A New Route to Migraine Relief: Botox?]

    • Headache Relief: 6 Tricks to Ease the Pain
    • Dealing With a Migraine Like Janet Jackson's
    • Wrinkle Creams: Worth It or Not?

      You don't have to venture far into your corner drugstore or local department store to find shelves full of creams and serums promising to add to your store of collagen. Is there any science behind the claims that they'll give you a tighter, more youthful look? Yes, with caveats.

      Many cosmetic creams have been shown to stimulate production of collagen, a key protein in the skin vital to its firmness and elasticity. And though they may not be as powerful against wrinkles as collagen injections, Botox, and plastic surgery, the creams can be worthy alternatives to more invasive procedures, says Maria Tsoukas, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Chicago. They're gentler on the pocketbook, too.

      One ingredient to look for: amino acids called "pentapeptides." Early research on these substances showed that they helped heal wounds; because they also stimulate the skin to make more collagen, they can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, too, U.S. News reported in 2010.

      Some pentapeptide products, including Olay Regenerist, also contain hyaluronic acid, another ingredient that has been shown to restore structure and volume to the skin. And many dermatologists swear by retinol, a derivative of vitamin A. At prescription strengths, it's used to fight acne, but the retinol in over-the-counter creams such as Neutrogena Healthy Skin and RoC Retinol Correxion seems to revive skin by building collagen, shrinking pores, and lightening age spots. Tsoukas recommends using retinol products at night, and slathering on a moisturizer with sunscreen during the day, both to prevent future damage and because retinol can make skin extra sensitive to the sun. "These regimens are fantastic, but it's important to use some sun protection," she says. [Read more: Wrinkle Creams: Worth It or Not?]