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Using Botox for Migraines

Woman with migraine

Most people associate removing wrinkles with a Botox treatment, but recently it has been used in cases where individuals have experienced migraines. The question remains as to whether or not there is adequate evidence that would show a Botox treatment would provide any measure of relief for migraine sufferers. In July of 2010, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) licensed Botox for treating chronic migraines. The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved the use of Botox for treatment of chronic migraine headaches.

Clinical Studies for Administering Botox Treatments for Migraines

There are two specific clinical trials that were conducted to determine if Botox would be effective for relieving chronic migraine headaches. An individual can be classified as having chronic migraines if they have headaches more than half the days of each month and at least 8 of the headaches are migraines. In the two clinical studies there were two test groups. One group was given a placebo and the other a series of Botox injections for the duration of the study. The study demonstrated that Botox did not lessen the severity of migraines, but it did reduce the number of headaches and migraines that participants had. Overall sufferers had about 10 percent fewer headaches than those given the placebo. The treatments were approved in an attempt to reduce the hours and days spent in intense pain that is caused by migraine headaches.

How Does a Botox Treatment Work?

The Botox treatment is given over a period of 12 weeks in the form of multiple injections. The series of injections is given in the head and neck area as an attempt to dull any future symptoms. It is very important for individuals to discuss with their personal physician if Botox treatments are an option that would be an appropriate treatment in their particular situation. A qualified NJ medical professional will administer 31 injections into 7 different sites in the region of the neck and head. Results will depend on the individual circumstances of the patient, but the Botox treatment is expected to last for about 3 months.

How does Botox Reduce Headache Frequency?

The honest answer is that no one knows for sure why Botox works for reducing the frequency of headaches. It is also used in other conditions and is thought to be effective because it relaxes muscles which are overacting. It is used by medical professionals for several conditions including myofascial pain, lower back pain, neuropathic pain, and bladder pain. Professionals believe that it inhibits the release of peripheral nociceptive neurotransmitters. This is believed to have an effect on the body’s pain processing system which generates headaches.

Are There Any Side Effects?

The most commonly asked question before a Botox treatment is if there are any side effects associated with the procedure. Some of the most commonly reported adverse side effects have been neck pain or headaches. There is a warning by the FDA that there is a possibility of the substance spreading to other regions of the body after the injection. This can cause symptoms that are similar to those caused by botulism. This can cause breathing or swallowing problems. However, so far the FDA states that there are not any confirmed cases of the substance spreading from the injection site when it is used in the recommended dosage for treating chronic migraine headaches. There is a remote possibility that it can cause double vision, drooping eyelids, muscle weakness, hoarseness or loss of bladder control.

Who Should Use Botox Treatments for Migraines?

It is important to discuss this question with a qualified physician who is familiar with your situation. Botox injections are used for those who suffer from chronic migraines which means that the individual has a headache 15 or more days a month. A medical professional can help an individual decide if a Botox treatment would be appropriate or if other treatment options should be pursued.

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