The Dark Side Of Botox

botox victim Karen Hicks

For Karen Hicks, raising her 3-year-old grandchild and running her hair salon, every day is busy. But when she suffers one of her frequent migraines, everything stops.

"When I was younger I was incapacitated," she told CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes.

So when a local plastic surgeon in St. Petersburg, Florida, suggested Botox as an experimental treatment for migraines, Karen thought she had nothing to lose. A few days later she could barely get out of bed:

"I literally sat down and wrote my will. I moved from bed to couch where I could watch my daughter," she said.

Hicks was bedridden for six weeks. She was so sick with fatigue and pain she had to call her ex-husband to take care of her.

Hicks called the company that makes Botox, the billion dollar pharmaceutical giant Allergan, asking if her side effects were normal. She says a company doctor told her it couldn't be the Botox.

"She spent 45 minutes telling all of the diseases that it could be," Karen said. "Lupus, MS, cancer, it could be Lou Gehrig's disease, any number of serious diseases."

Hicks filed a complaint, but so far hasn't decided to sue.

But another woman has decided to sue Allergan for side effects from Botox. And it's caused a major rift in the Botox capital of the nation -- Beverly Hills.

Socialite Irena Medavoy, wife of movie producer Mike Medavoy, is suing both Allergan and dermatologist-to-the-stars Arnie Klein.

Since the FDA approved Botox for wrinkles last year, demand has skyrocketed. Now doctors are allowing nurses to give the drug. Some even throw so-called "Botox parties" to take advantage of the ever increasing demand.

"It has this wonderful, outstanding safety profile. And if there are side effects associated with it, they tend to be mild, tend to be temporary and tend to be local," said an attorney for Allergan.

But in 2001, the FDA sent a letter citing Allergan for "minimizing" side effects, forcing it to change its promotional material.

While clinical trials using Botox for migraines are promising, a study by the American Academy of Dermatology found "some" who used Botox for wrinkles actually got severe debilitating headaches from the treatment.

And neurologists are concerned that some doctors may be using Botox for headaches that might not even be migraines:

"They hear headache and think Botox injections just for headache. They could miss overall picture," said Dr. Stuart Stark.

Karen Hicks keeps a careful chart of her migraines each month, uncured by the Botox injections she wishes she'd never had.