Poisonous pain relief
If you had told me decades ago that people would deliberately start injecting each other with one of the world's most potent poisons just to smooth over a few wrinkles, I would have wondered if maybe you weren't a little poisoned yourself.
But not content to leave a bad idea alone, Allergan -- the maker of the Botox injection -- is hoping to spread the toxins around even more... because this poison is on its way to being approved for millions of migraine headache sufferers.
Allergan wants this bad -- real bad. So bad, the feds say the company broke the law and marketed Botox for headaches and other unapproved uses anyway, leaving a trail of fraud and kickbacks along the way.
The company denies at least some of the charges... which is a funny thing to do when you've also agreed to pay $600 million to settle the case.
On the other hand, $600 million is pennies compared to what's really at stake here -- because while Botox currently takes in a respectable $361 million annually, analyses say approval for migraines could cause sales to approach the billion-dollar mark.
There's just one problem: It doesn't work. Not very well, anyway.
One study found that Botox sufferers had the same number of headaches overall as those who took a placebo, while another found that Botox users had 2.3 fewer days of headaches per month than those who took a placebo.
Now, I know some headaches are so bad you'd just about kill for those two extra days of pain relief. But hold on a moment -- because they come at a price: 31 regular injections of the world's most powerful toxin, the Botulinum toxin.
And if even a drop of the Botox misses the muscle being injected, it can travel through the body and cause all kinds of damage -- from nausea and flulike symptoms to paralysis.
Do yourself a favor -- if you want safer migraine relief, look for a high-quality butterbur-based supplement instead.
About the author
William Campbell Douglass I.I., M.D. has been called "the conscience of modern medicine."
You can sign up for his "Daily Dose" at DouglassReport.com.