These days Botox is being widely prescribed by doctors for preventing headaches in adults (18 years or older) suffering from chronic migraine who are down for 15 or more days in a month with headache that may last 5 or more hours each day.
Botox belongs to a group of drugs known as biologics (medicines made from living things). It’s a purified protein obtained from bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum type A.
Currently it is not clear whether Botox is effective or safe to prevent headaches in people with migraines who have 14 or fewer episodic migraine headaches in a month.
In clinical trials, Botox was very efficient in reducing headache days immediately after the first treatment. Second treatment was given at 24 weeks, and prevented 7-10 headache days in a month (vs 5 to 6 for placebo). Results will be visible within 3-4 weeks. So over the course of 2 treatment sessions, you will notice significant reduction in your headache days.
Interesting Facts about Botox!
- It’s the only chronic migraine treatment approved by FDA and does its job even before your migraine starts.
- Botox can prevent 7-10 headache days and probable migraine /migraine days a month (vs 5-6 for placebo)
- More than 120,000 people suffering from chronic migraine have been successfully treated since FDA approval in early 2010.
- It’s purely a preventive treatment that’s injected by a specialist every 12 weeks, so it won’t treat your migraines.
- If you don’t get treated every 12 weeks, you won’t able to experience full benefits of Botox treatment. It will take at least two treatments, 12 weeks apart to ascertain how well it is working for you.
- You may start seeing the results within 4 weeks. Over the course of 2 treatment sessions, you will notice a reduction in your headache days.
- Don’t be afraid of injections. It’s a tiny needle and feels like tiny pinpricks.
- These injections take about 10-15 minutes, and are done in doctor’s office.
What’s there in Botox Treatment?
The doctor injects Botox into 7 specific areas in the neck and head with very fine needles. These injections take about 15 minutes, and involve 31 injections. The patient may feel mild discomfort as these injections feel like tiny pinpricks or pinches.
Based on your progress, your doctor will recommend re-treatment every 12 weeks.
The Botox migraine treatment injection sites are specifically designed to prevent migraines and headaches.
Can a patient take acute medication along with this treatment?
If doctor recommends, then you can take acute medications while you’re on Botox treatment. It’s a purely preventive treatment and will reduce your headache days. On the other hand, acute treatment will reduce pain once your migraine or headache has already begun.
Important Safety Information about this Treatment
- Botox can have serious side effects that can sometimes be life threatening. So immediately seek medical help if you’ve any of these issues any time (hours to weeks) after injection of Botox:
- There can be problems in speaking, swallowing, or breathing due to some weakness in associated muscles. Sometimes this can be severe and may result in loss of life. You’re at a highest risk if these problems are there before injection. Swallowing problems can last for weeks and even months.
- The botulinum toxin can affect areas that lie away from the injection site and may cause serious symptoms including: double vision, loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, hoarseness or loss or change of voice, drooping eyelids and blurred vision, loss of bladder control, trouble saying words clearly, trouble swallowing, trouble breathing. This can happen within hours to week. If this happens, say away from operating machinery, driving a car, or doing other dangerous activities.
- There has not been a single confirmed case of spread of toxin effect from Botox injection site when Botox has been used at recommended dose.
- You should avoid Botox if you’re allergic to any of its ingredients; have skin infection at the planned injection site; had allergic reacton of any other botulinum toxin product such as Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA), Myobloc® (rimabotulinumtoxinB), or Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA).
- Serious allergic reactions have also been reported. They include rash, itching, wheezing, red itchy welts, dizziness or feeling faint, or asthma symptoms. Immediately seek medical help if you experience any symptoms; also further Botox injections should be discontinued.
Things you should immediately tell your doctor?
- It’s important to inform your doctor about all your medical conditions, such as bleeding problems, plans for some surgery, had some surgery on your face in the past, other abnormal facial changes, trouble raising your eyebrows, weakness of forehead muscles, drooping eyelids, are pregnant or have plans to become pregnant, are planning to breastfeed or are breastfeeding.
- It’s important to inform your doctor about all your nerve or muscle conditions, such as myasthenia gravis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome, as you’ve increased risk of serious side-effects including difficulty breathing or swallowing from typical doses of Botox.
- It’s important to inform doctor if you’ve received any other botulinum toxin product in past 3-4 months; have recently received an antibiotic by injection; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell the exact product you’ve received); take aspirin-like products or blood thinners; take aspiring-like products.
- It’s important to inform your doctor about all the medicines you’re currently taking, including nonprescription and prescription medicines, herbal products, and vitamins. Using Botox with certain other medicines can cause serious side effects. Never start any new medicine unless you’ve discussed with your doctor that you’ve received Botox in the past.
You can also report any side-effects of prescription drugs to the FDA at………..www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.