The same drug that smooths out your skin can help soothe your headaches if you suffer from chronic migraines. Severe, recurrent headaches significantly affect patient’s quality of life. Botox, consisting of botulinum toxin type A, decreases frequency of migraines in some patients.
Botox for Migraines
Botox is prescribed for people who have severe debilitating migraines. It is not approved for use in adults who suffer fewer than 14 headache days every month. Each headache episode must last at least four hours.
American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Neurology recently updated its guidelines and approved the use of Botox for migraines and certain other neurological disorders. These include:
- blepharospasm – a condition causing a disabling eyelid closure
- cervical dystonia – involuntary contractions of the neck and upper shoulder muscles
- adult spasticity
- spinal cord injuries.
While the FDA approved Botox for chronic migraines in 2010, American Academy of Neurology did not include Botox treatments for migraines in its guidelines until April 2016. Scientists aren’t exactly sure how Botox works in reducing chronic migraine, although research indicates it may inhibit pain by reducing pain pathway expression involving specific nerve cells.
The injections are performed on certain areas of your neck and head. Patients receive injections roughly every three months for about a year. As a result, most patients enjoy significantly more pain-free days.
Botox has not yet been scientifically proven to work on tension, cluster or other types of headaches.
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