The Consumer’s Guide to Botulinum Toxin for Chronic Migraine

Migraine is a neurological disorder characterized by severe head pain which is often on one side of your head. Symptoms such as nausea or vomiting and sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells are mostly indicators of it.

Doctors may diagnose you with migraine if you experience a headache at least 15 days out of the month — with at least eight of those days meeting the criteria for migraine. After diagnosis, you may be prescribed a treatment option which could be botulinum toxin — specifically, onabotulinumtoxinA(botox).

What is Botox and how does it work?

Botulinum toxins like botox are neurotoxins obtained from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. These neurotoxins enter pain-causing nerve endings and stop the release of chemicals that cause pains.

Botox is administered through an injection into the skin on your face, neck or head for the treatment of chronic migraine. The injection is often given every 12 weeks.

Essential facts about Botox for chronic migraine

Below are certain facts you need to know about botulinum toxin as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine

  • Getting Botox injections for chronic migraine may hurt a little but the procedure takes just a few minutes and can be done in your doctor’s office
  • The injection can take weeks or months to work and you may have to get the procedure done multiple times to be relieved
  • Botox injections for chronic migraines generally seems to be safe but there can be some side effects like neck discomfort and pain, swelling and headache immediately after the treatment
  • There are several brand names for botulinum toxin injects but the one approved by the FDA is Botox

Who is a good candidate for Botox injection?

Botox may be a good choice for people who have been diagnosed with chronic migraine for more than 3 months, people who may have tried other preventive drugs for migraine, or people who have had adverse side effects after taking other drugs for migraine. However, people with the following conditions may not be eligible for the injection

  • You’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • You’re a breastfeeding mother
  • You’re under the age of 18
  • You have a history of neuromuscular disorders

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