What Is Botox?
Botox is most known for its use in reducing facial wrinkles, but it has been used as a treatment for migraines as well. It is a purified and diluted form botulinum toxin A, a toxin produced by bacteria, which is responsible for botulism. Botulism is a deadly food poisoning most known for its paralyzing effects on the muscles.
Is Botox FDA Approved?
Botox used to treat migraines has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) in October 2010. Prior to that, it was used off-label for this purpose. Botox is also approved for use in certain disorders of the eyes, torticollis and facial wrinkles.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Botox?
If you suffer from frequent or severe migraines and have been prescribed medication that for one reason or another doesn’t do the trick then you could be a good candidate for Botox. Talk to your doctor and he or she will help you determine if Botox to help reduce headaches or the severity of headaches is right for you.
Pregnant and nursing women are not advised to undergo Botox injections therapy due to its unknown effect on the fetus or the breast milk. Botox is a Pregnancy Category C medication, meaning there is not enough research to determine if it is safe to use while pregnant.
How Does Botox Work for Migraines?
Researchers noticed that many migraine sufferers who had Botox injections for wrinkles reported having fewer migraines. It is unknown exactly how the Botox reduces headache frequency, and more research needs to be done to determine which type of headache sufferers will benefit most from using Botox.
Botox is injected into the muscles around the brow, eyes, forehead, side of the head, and back of the head near the neck. Botox is used as a preventative medicine, requiring treatments every 4 to 6 months to work most effectively.
How Long Does the Treatment Last?
To treat the chronic condition, injections are given about every three months. Some patients have reported results of up to 8 months.
What Are Side Effects of Botox?
Botox tends to cause fewer side effects than standard medications. Compared to standard medications, which can cause a number of side effects, such as upset stomach, drowsiness and weight gain, side effects from Botox treatment are relatively rare. In rare cases, symptoms similar to botulism have been reported after using Botox. The exact rate of these reactions is not known. These include loss of strength, general muscle weakness, double vision, blurry vision, eyelid drooping, difficulty swallowing or speaking, urinary incontinence, breathing difficulties, allergic reactions. Any of these side effects should be reported to your health care provider immediately.
Less serious side effects include dry mouth, discomfort or pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, eyelid swelling, and dry eyes. They occur in less than 10% of people using Botox.