BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual







Botulinum toxin, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, is one of the most potent naturally occurring neurotoxins known.  It induces chemodenervation by first binding to acceptors on motor nerve terminals.  It then enters the terminals and blocks the release of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters at the neuromuscular junction.  This renders smooth and striated muscles incapable of contraction.  Acetylcholine also mediates the sympathetic innervation of the sweat glands, explaining how botulinum toxin disrupts the cholinergic outflow to the skin and halts glandular secretion.

The minute amount of toxin used clinically produces only partial, localized chemical denervation with transient results.  Over time, axons generate temporary sprouts which release acetylcholine and the original nerve terminal is eventually re-established, ending the toxin’s therapeutic activity.

Seven antigenic-specific serotypes of botulinum toxin have been identified, types A, B, C-1, D, E, F and G, but only botulinum toxin types A and B are commercially available.  These commercial preparations of the two serotypes (three of serotype A and one of serotype B) vary widely in potency and dosage.  They have been given different names to reinforce these differences and to prevent medication errors.  It is emphasized that the use and dosage of different formulations of botulinum toxin is not interchangeable.

This policy addresses only the type A formulation abobotulinumtoxinA marketed as Dysport®.





Chronic anal fissure Up to 150 units divided among the affected muscles every 12 weeks
Blepharospasms Up to 180 units per affected eye every 12 weeks
Cervical Dystonia

Initial dose: 500 units divided among the affected muscles

Re-treatment: 250-1000 units every 12 -16 weeks or longer as necessary
Hemifacial Spasms

Up to 220 units per treatment session based on sites and severity of the spasm

Subsequent injections administered upon recurrence of spasm, every 12 weeks, if needed
Chronic Migraine Prophylaxis Up to 240 units divided among the affected muscles every 12 weeks
Neurogenic detrusor overactivity - OAB Up to 750 units divided among the affected muscles every 12 weeks
Severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis Up to 200 units per axilla not more often than every 12 weeks
Sialorrhea Up to 450 units divided among the affected muscles every 12 weeks
Lower Limb Spasticity

Pediatrics - Up to 10-15 units/kg divided among gastrocnemius-soleus complex muscles, per limb, every 12 weeks. Maximum dose per treatment session is 1000 units, total

Adults - Up to 1500 units divided among the affected muscles every 12 weeks
Upper Limb Spasticity

Initial dose: 500 – 1000 units based on muscles affected, severity of muscle spasticity, prior response and adverse reaction history

Re-treatment: 500 – 1000 units every 12 – 16 weeks or longer, as necessary


Coverage will be provided for six months and may be renewed

Click here to view DOSAGE LIMITS


BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s Medical Policy complies with Tennessee Code Annotated Section 56-7-2352 regarding coverage of off-label indications of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs when the off-label use is recognized in one of the statutorily recognized standard reference compendia or in the published peer-reviewed medical literature.


We develop Medical Policies to provide guidance to Members and Providers.  This Medical Policy relates only to the services or supplies described in it.  The existence of a Medical Policy is not an authorization, certification, explanation of benefits or a contract for the service (or supply) that is referenced in the Medical Policy.  For a determination of the benefits that a Member is entitled to receive under his or her health plan, the Member's health plan must be reviewed.  If there is a conflict between the Medical Policy and a health plan, the express terms of the health plan will govern.


For appropriate chemotherapy regimens, dosage information, contraindications, precautions, warnings, and monitoring information, please refer to one of the standard reference compendia (e.g., the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network®, Drugdex Evaluations of Micromedex Solutions at Truven Health, or The American Hospital Formulary Service Drug Information).

No controlled studies were found in the published literature that validate the use of abobotulinumtoxinA for the treatment or prevention of other conditions or diseases.


American Academy of Neurology and Child Neurology Society (2010, January). Practice parameter: pharmacologic treatment of spasticity in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (an evidence-based review). Retrieved May 9, 2016 from the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC: 007677).

BlueCross BlueShield Association. Medical Policy Reference Manual. (10:2017). Botulinum toxin (5.01.05). Retrieved January 22, 2018 from BlueWeb.

BlueCross BlueShield Association. Medical Policy Reference Manual. (5:2017). Treatment of hyperhidrosis (8.01.19). Retrieved January 22, 2018 from BlueWeb.

Lexi-Comp Online. (2018). AHFS DI. AbobotulinumtoxinA. Retrieved January 22, 2018 from Lexi-Comp Online with AHFS.

Mazlan, M., Rajasegaran, S., Engkasan, J. P., Nawawi, O., Goh, K. J., Freddy, S .J. (2015). A double-blind randomized controlled trial investigating the most efficacious dose of botulinum toxin-A for sialorrhea treatment in Asian adults with neurological diseases. Toxins, 2015(7), 3758-3770.

MICROMEDEX Healthcare Series. Drugdex Drug Evaluations. (2017, November). AbobotulinumtoxinA. Retrieved January 22, 2018 from MICROMEDEX Healthcare Series.

Møller, E., Pedersen, S. A., Vinicoff, P. G., Bardow, A., Lykkeaa, J., Svendsen, P., Bakke, M. (2015). OnabotulinumtoxinA treatment of drooling in children with cerebral palsy: a prospective, longitudinal open-label study. Toxins, 2015 (7), 2481-2493.

Simpson, D. M., Blitzer, A., Brashear, A., Comella, C., Dubinsky, R., Hallett, M., et al. (2008, January). Assessment: Botulinum neurotoxin for the treatment of movement disorders (an evidence-based review): Report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology, 2008 (70), 1699-1706.

U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017, June). Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA). Retrieved January 22, 2018 from




Policies included in the Medical Policy Manual are not intended to certify coverage availability. They are medical determinations about a particular technology, service, drug, etc. While a policy or technology may be medically necessary, it could be excluded in a member's benefit plan. Please check with the appropriate claims department to determine if the service in question is a covered service under a particular benefit plan. Use of the Medical Policy Manual is not intended to replace independent medical judgment for treatment of individuals. The content on this Web site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider if you have questions regarding a medical condition or treatment.

This document has been classified as public information.




Maximum billable units per dose and over time by indication as a Medical Benefit; 1 billable unit = 5 units



Chronic anal fissure

60 billable units per 84 days


100 billable units per 84 days

Cervical Dystonia

200 billable units per 84 days

Hemifacial Spasms

60 billable units per 84 days

Chronic Migraine Prophylaxis

60 billable units per 84 days

Neurogenic detrusor overactivity - OAB

160 billable units per 84 days

Severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis

100 billable units per 84 days


100 billable units per 84 days

Lower Limb Spasticity

300 billable units per 84 days adult;

200 billable units per 84 days pediatric

Upper Limb Spasticity

200 billable units per 84 days

Chronic anal fissure

60 billable units per 84 days