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Botox for Chronic Migraines

Botox is more than a cosmetic treatment. For those that suffer from chronic migraines, it may provide a welcome road to relief. In October 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of on abotulinumtoxinA injections, the active ingredient in Botox, for the prevention of chronic migraines in adult patients.

Migraine headaches—characterized by an intense throbbing pain focused in one area of the head—are a neurological condition that can have a negative impact on one’s quality of life. Often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound, migraines affect about 12% of the American population. Women are three times more likely to experience migraines than men. Chronic migraines are defined as episodic, with headaches occurring most days of the month and lasting several hours.

An individual who has a history of having attacks more than 14 days a month may benefit from Botox injections. In two studies that involved 1,384 individuals in North America and Europe, participants reported a decrease in headache symptoms after receiving Botox injections.

To treat chronic migraines, multiple Botox injections should be given around the head and neck about every 12 weeks. “Botox has not been shown to be an effective treatment for other types of headaches, so it is important to have a headache condition properly diagnosed by a medical specialist” says Philadelphia dermatologist Dr. Ringpfeil. According to New York plastic surgeon Dr. Forley, Botox is generally considered to be safe, but there are some risks associated with injections. Those considering treatment should thoroughly review their medical history with their doctor.

Chronic migraines can be debilitating, leading to an inability to function at full capacity. If migraine headaches are interfering with work and/or your personal and social life, you may want to consult with your doctor to see if Botox may be a treatment option.

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Read Dr. Forley's Blog Post About Botox