FAQ on Botox® Injections for Migraine Headaches in Colorado

 

BOTOX® (onabotulinum toxin) is a product known as a biologic. These agents are biologic medicines are made from living things. BOTOX® is a purified protein made from a specific type of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum type A. Used as a preventive agent for patients with chronic migraines, BOTOX® can be given to people age 18 years and older.

Who makes BOTOX®?

BOTOX® is made by Allergan, which is a US-based specialty drug company. Allergan offers medical devices and other innovative products in over 100 countries in the world. Allergan is committed to the research and development of life-saving and cure-giving products and devices. Only Allergan’s BOTOX is approved by the FDA.

How common are migraine headaches?

According to the American Migraine Study, the prevalence rate of migraines for women is 18%, and it is 6% for men. Rates of migraine headaches are higher among whites than blacks, and also higher among those of lower income. According to the study, 63% of migraine sufferers have 1-4 episodes per month, and 14% have at least one migraine per week.

How is BOTOX given to chronic migraine patients?

BOTOX is injected by the physician to several areas of the head and neck. The doctor uses a tiny needle and makes 31 total injections. Before giving the injections, the forehead and neck are cleaned with an antiseptic solution.

How often are BOTOX injections for migraines given?

Most pain management specialists and neurologists administer BOTOX injections every 12-16 weeks. The doctor will decide if you require ongoing therapy.

Can I still take medication for migraines should I have one?

When using BOTOX for prevention of migraine headaches, you may still have a headache occasionally. BOTOX is a prescription-only solution that is used for prevention of headaches in adults. If you do have a headache, you can still take your usual headache medicine.

How do I know if my migraines can be treated with BOTOX injections?

BOTOX is recommended for chronic migraines that occur 15 or more days each month and last 4 hours or more. BOTOX will not be given to adults with occasional headaches. BOTOX may not prevent all of your headache days.

Do BOTOX injections for headaches work?

In a large study involving 102 patients, 31 units of BOTOX was used in the frontal and temporal facial areas, as well as between the eyes. In this study, 86% of the patients had 8 or less migraines each month, and 100% reported that the treatment helped them.

How does BOTOX work for headaches?

Neurologists theorize that BOTOX works by targeting the trigger sites. The frontal and temporal trigger areas are associated with muscle tightness and pain. In addition, the occipital triggers start in the back portion of the head and radiate toward the front. The trigger point hypothesis holds that irritation to nerves causes the onset of migraine headaches, which occur in specific areas.

What other conditions are treated using BOTOX?

BOTOX is commonly used in pain management for chronic migraine headache, but it is also approved and used for:

  • Post-stroke upper limb spasticity
  • Persistent daily headache
  • Tension-type headache
  • Severe neck/shoulder muscle spasms
  • Strabismus
  • Detrusor overactivity
  • Hemifacial spasms

Resources

Becker D (2014). Beyond Beauty: Onobotulinumtoxin A (BOTOX®) and the Management of Migraine Headaches. Anesth Pain Med, 2(1), 5-11.

Janis JE, Hatef DA, Reece EM, McCluskey PD, Schaub TA, & Guyuron B (2010). Neurovascular compression of the greater occipital nerve: implications for migraine headaches. Plast Reconstr Surg, 126(6):1996–2001.