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How Botox Works For Migraines

Side Effects Of Botox For Migraines

How does Botox treatment for migraines work?

Like any other drug, there are individual levels of sensitivity that can affect how well the drug works, as well as whether side effects become an issue. Side effects can include problems breathing or swallowing after injection, neck pain, botulism, tiredness, pain at the injection site, dry mouth, painful urination, and more.

Before you get Botox for migraines, be sure to discuss your medical history and family history thoroughly and weigh your options.

The Dl On Using Botox For Migraine

Botox is a protein made from the Botulinum toxin, which is produced by a rod-shaped spore forming bacteria called Clostridium botulinum.

Can the same neurotoxin that causes botulism actually be good for you? In some situations, yes. In small, injectable doses, Botox is considered a safe drug. In fact, its approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat chronic migraine in people that experience migraine episodes 15 or more days a month.

How Much Does Botox For Migraines Cost

The cost of Botox treatments can vary somewhat, so its important to ask your healthcare provider upfront what you will be charged.

In general, each treatment session will use a total of about 155 units of Botox, and that can cost anywhere between $300 to $600, or even more. Because these treatments can be expensive, you should search for coupons or savings plans that are available to help lower the cost. For example, the manufacturer of Botox, Allergan, offers a savings card and a patient assistance program to help reduce costs or even make it free for patients.

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Side Effects And Risks

Like other medications, there are a few side effects and risks with Botox, though most are rare and only temporary.

The most common side effect following Botox treatment is neck pain, reported in about 9% of people during the PREEMPT study.

About 5% of people from the PREEMPT clinical trials reported a migraine following treatment, however headache and migraine usually occur within the first month of treatment and decrease with repeat treatments.8

Other side effects include:

  • pain at the injection site
  • muscle pain and weakness
  • itching
  • upper respiratory tract infection.

Rare but serious side effects include breathing and swallowing problems and the spread of the Botox toxin.

Botox for chronic migraine is only approved for people aged 18 and older and its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unknown.

How Does Botox Work

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Nerves communicate by releasing molecules to their targets: the muscles, the sweat glands but also the sensory organs of the skin. The molecules released bind to receptors and induce actions: muscle contraction, sweat production, sensory modulation. Botox prevents nerves from communicating with their targets. If the target is a muscle, it will stop contracting. If the target is a sweat gland, it will stop producing sweat!

In chronic migraine, we know now that sensory nerves become inflamed and hypersensitive . The inflammation is caused by different molecules that may be released by the sensory nerves. Botox blocks this, and that has a «calming» effect on the pain. There are studies done on animals showing that Botox modifies the electric activity of the pain network of the face and neck.

In summary, Botox works by an effect on sensory nerves that modulates pain.

An effect on muscle contraction may also play a role but is not thought to be the key mechanisms for migraine.

The story of Botox is interesting because it starts with an observation of effect on people which led to a scientific understanding on how it works.

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How Does Botox For Migraines Work

When a person is experiencing severe pain associated with migraine, a doctor may recommend different interventions based on family history and severity. Most of these are analgesic in some way, or relieve associated secondary symptoms such as severe nausea.

Aspirin and ibuprofen are some of the most commonly prescribed over-the-counter pain meds for migraines, and paracetamol can be effective for mild attacks. Overreliance on these medications can lead to stomach and liver problems, however, which is why a more long-term treatment plan is crucial.

Other medications for immediate pain relief include CGRP antagonists, vasoconstrictors like triptans and newer drugs, and even opioid medication.

However, preventative medicine is just as important to treating a migraine problem, especially in chronic cases. This is where Botox for migraines come into play.

Botox is injected into the muscles in the neck and head in multiple different places, typically once every 12 weeks. The mechanism by which it helps relieve pain involves blocking the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps contract muscles and relay pain signals.

Will Botox For Migraines Work For Everyone

As with any medical treatment, theres no guarantee that Botox will rid you of migraines. While it works as a panacea for some, others either claim they noticed no difference in their headaches or that they experienced side-effects such as drooping eyelids, neck pain or instability and increased headaches.

Two of the main reasons for a negative outcome include:

1. The patient was injected by an underqualified practitioner 2. The patient was not suffering from chronic migraines. or experience headaches for less than 14 days a month, youre not a great candidate for Botox for migraines).

Botox is approved in those with chronic migraineIt does not seem to work in those with fewer headache days per month, McAllister says. So, the more frequent and awful your headaches, the better in this case.

How Much Does Botox for Migraines Cost? The cost of Botox will depend on a variety of factors including, how much is being injected and how much the doctor charges per unit or per injection area. You could be looking at anywhere from $250 to $6,000 or more per treatment. At Dr. Peter McAllisters clinic, the New England Institute for Neurology and Headache, each Botox treatment will cost around $1,500 or nearly $6,000 annually.

The good news? Insurance companies often cover Botox treatment if a patient suffers from clinically diagnosed chronic migraines and has unsuccessfully tried other preventative treatment methods.

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How Much Does Botox For Migraine Treatment Cost

The cost of an initial consultation to discuss your treatment and determine eligibility for the treatment is £255. The Botox® for migraine treatment cost is £550. This includes medication, the procedure and follow-up care if its needed.

To find out more, complete our online enquiry form or call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

How Well Does Botox Work For Migraines

How Botox treatment for migraines has changed lives

Botox is a preventive medication that helps to stop a migraine headache before it starts. In studies, Botox was shown to prevent on average 8 to 9 headache days a month .

Botox is approved to be used in adults to prevent chronic migraine headaches that occur on 15 or more days per month and that last for at least 4 hours. At least 8 of the headache days must be associated with migraine.

Because Botox is an injection you receive every 12 weeks, you wont have to remember to take a daily pill for migraine prevention. You can combine Botox with oral medications for acute migraine treatment to help reduce pain once a headache has already begun, if approved by your doctor.

In studies, researchers found the most common side effect when Botox was used for migraine prevention was neck pain in 9% of patients . Other side effects included headache, droopy eyelid , and muscle stiffness or weakness.

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The Path To Migraine Use

Botox was first used in the 1970s by ophthalmologists to treat eye conditions such as blepharospasm , and squint. Since then, its been approved to treat other medical conditions including bladder dysfunction, muscle contractions and excessive armpit sweating.

In 1998, an American plastic surgeon reported some of his patients receiving cosmetic Botox experienced an improvement in their migraine headaches after treatment.

Encouraged by other anecdotal evidence, researchers began to formally study the efficacy, safety and tolerability of Botox for chronic migraine through clinical trials. The most notable trials were the Phase 3 REsearch Evaluating Migraine Prophylaxis Therapy clinical program, or PREEMPT study.

The PREEMPT study involved 2 double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trials involving 1,384 people who fulfilled the trial criteria of chronic migraine. Half the participants received Botox injections and the other half received a placebo.

The results from the clinical trials were combined and the study concluded treating chronic migraine with Botox reduced the number of migraine days and reduced headache-related disability.

From PREEMPT, the Food and Drug Administration approved Botox for use in chronic migraine in 2010. In Australia, Botox was approved for use in chronic migraine in 2011.

Botox is the brand name of onabotulinumtoxinA approved for chronic migraine and is made by the pharmaceutical company Allergan.

How Long Does It Take For Botox To Work

Some patients may see improvements in their headache frequency in the first 4 weeks, but most patients who see improvements will notice them after the second injection at 12 weeks.

In 24-week long studies, patients continued to see reductions in their number of headache days on most days over the 24-week period. Botox also lowered the total length of time of headaches on days when they occurred over the study period, when compared to placebo.

Botox is not recommended for the preventive treatment of episodic migraine.

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How Does Botox Feel

While getting injections in your face might sound intimidating, Botox injections are very mild. Botox injections are given with a very small needle in a series of multiple injections. The injections feel like pin pricks or small stings. Rarely do patients report even moderate pain following Botox injections.

How Does Botox Help With Migraines

Botox For Migraines

Note that the United States Food and Drug Administration only approves the use of Botox for the treatment of chronic migraines. Differently put, your headache needs to persist for at least 15 days a month before being eligible to receive this treatment.

Botox treatment may be beneficial for the symptoms associated with migraines, including nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to lights, sounds, and smells.

Once you receive the injection, you will experience pain relief after 1014 days. In some cases, you may need additional injections for your symptoms to subside.

In a 2018 study, researchers found that treating migraines with Botox is safe, effective, and well-tolerated by patients over a period of 3 years. Furthermore, the study demonstrated a reduction in the frequency of migraine headaches in people who receive Botox injections.

Another review of several studies found that Botox injections prevent migraine attacks after 3 months of receiving the treatment.

These studies showcase the potential benefits offered by Botox injections and their role in treating and preventing chronic migraines.

Botox is a naturally-occurring chemical that blocks the transmission of pain signals and lowers the risk of other symptoms of migraines .

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How Well Botox Works

Two clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Botox injections for preventing headaches in adults with chronic migraine.

These studies looked at adults with chronic migraine. The participants received injections of Botox or a placebo . They received injections in two sets, which were given 3 months apart.

Researchers compared the number of headache days that people had at the start of the study with how many they had after 6 months of treatment. The results showed that people who received Botox averaged fewer headache days than people who received a placebo.

Isnt It A Treatment For Wrinkles

Botulinum toxin gets into nerve endings and stops the nerve being able to respond normally to an electrical nerve impulse. Whatever that nerve normally does, stops working. So when facial expression muscles are injected, facial wrinkles are reduced. It was noticed by chance many years ago that people having cosmetic botulinum toxin had fewer headaches. Recently this was proven to work for chronic migraine it is also used to treat other illnesses including hemifacial spasm, dystonia, cerebral palsy, and stroke.

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What To Expect From Treatment

If your doctor decides youre a good candidate for Botox treatment for your chronic migraine, youll receive 31 injections into the muscles under your skin.

These injections are almost painless. If you feel them at all, you might feel a small sting or slight burning sensation.

The injections will be spread out across various areas, including your:

  • forehead
  • upper bridge of your nose
  • neck
  • upper back

The exact locations will vary depending on where you feel your pain. Why can it change? Thats because your injection specialist will essentially be targeting trigger points where your individual migraine pain originates.

It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to administer all of the injections.

Finding A Doctor Who Treats Migraine With Botox

Botox for Migraines

If you want to try Botox for migraine, you should look for a headache specialist or neurologist. We recommend using your insurances doctor listing, Yelp, or the American Migraine Foundations doctor database.

Dr. Laura Banks, neurologist at Natividad Medical Center, suggests asking prospective doctors where they learned to give Botox, and how many times theyve given it. Youre looking for a lot of experience, she says. Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld suggests asking doctors how many injections they will give, and where they will give them.

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Will Botox Work To Treat My Migraines

Individual results may vary, so theres no way to know for sure. But theres strong reason to believe that it might.

Multiple studies have shown that treating chronic migraines with Botox means fewer headache days each month when compared with placebo. It may take 10 to 14 days for the result of the Botox to start to take effect.

Some people dont respond to this type of treatment for migraine, and it typically takes two treatment cycles to figure out if youre one of them.

Should Botox Be Used For Any Person With Migraine

No. Botox is approved only for Chronic Migraine. Chronic migraine is the most severe form of migraine. 1 to 2% of the population suffers from chronic migraine. These people have more than 15 days of headaches a month for at least three months, 8 or more of which are migraines. The other days can be «tension type», as the severity of headache varies in Chronic Migraine .

Unfortunately, Botox does not work for people who have a less severe form of migraine called episodic migraine. Studies on people with episodic migraine were negative. You may want to see a headache specialist to discuss if Botox would be right for you.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Botox

Side effects were rare and mostly mild in the two large clinical trials of Botox.5,6 The most common side effects of Botox were:4

  • Neck pain
  • Temporary droopy eyelids or eyebrows
  • Muscular weakness

Do not drive if you experience weakness, blurry vision, or drooping eyelids after treatment with Botox.2

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to it, have a skin infection at the injection site, are being treated for urinary incontinence or cannot empty your bladder and have a urinary tract infection . This medication is not approved for children.

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience problems breathing or swallowing, or if you have signs of allergy, including swelling in the face, throat, lips, or tongue.

Botox has a black box warningthe FDAs strongest warningabout the possible distant spread of the toxin effects.2 In rare cases, the paralyzing effect of Botox has spread to other areas of the body. This can lead to problems breathing or swallowing. This effect did not occur in either trial of Botox for migraine.5,6

Searching For Relief From Chronic Migraines Look No Further Botox For Migraines Is Proving To Be An Effective Treatment With Few Side

BOTOX for Migraines, Head &  Neck Pain East Bay and Orinda

Those who sign up for Botox for migraines will receive 31 injections in seven specific head and neck muscle areas every 12 weeks.

Theres not much worse than suffering from a chronic migraine. The pounding head, nausea, and pain is debilitating. My last migraine persisted for a month. It was so bad I dreamed of ticking off King Henry the VIII so he could have my head chopped off and relieve me of my debilitating symptoms. Since Id tried everything from triptans to pain medications and acupuncture, all to no avail, I figured it was time to try something new Botox for migraines.

According to Italian researchers, Migraine is the most frequent neurological disorder observed in clinical practice. One of the best ways to treat chronic migraines, they say, is to deal with them early on. See a specialist, reduce the amount of medication youre taking to combat symptoms, and find a preventative therapy that works.

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How Does Botox Work In Treating Migraine

Onabotulinumtoxin A, also known as Botox-A, was approved in 2010 by the FDA for the treatment of chronic migraine.

Botox is injected into specific areas of your head and neck involved in migraine pain. The effect lasts for about 3 months.

Botox injections were developed to block neurotransmitters that tell your muscles to contract. By blocking these signals between your body and your brain, Botox diminishes the appearance of wrinkles.

However, blocking neurotransmitters is also a way to prevent migraine attacks. Botox blocks the release of these chemicals from reaching your nerve endings and causing pain.

Migraine attacks are typically best treated right at the very beginning of an attack but it can really difficult to do that.

If you try to treat a migraine with oral medication, you can end up taking too much of it. This can result in medication overuse headache and sometimes even trigger more migraine attacks.

Botox can work as a preventive treatment that keeps your brain from receiving the initial migraine signals, without the risk of rebound headache that comes with many oral medications.


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