What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Botox For Migraines!

Not Botulism, Thank Goodness

When you read botulinum toxin type A, our guess is the first thing you think of is botulism. Actually, botulinum toxin type A is the scientific name for Botox, that wonder drug that flattens out wrinkles like a miracle. The latest news from the wide and wonderful world of science is that this drug, originally designed for cosmetic use, can help prevent some types of migraines and has now been approved by the FDA to treat chronic migraine headaches in adults.

Chronic Migraine Headaches - Proper Diagnosis is Critical

Migraine headaches can leave a sufferer limp and disabled after an attack. They can be debilitating, throbbing and pulsing pain through the head, making just opening the eyes a herculean event. Migraines affect about 12 percent of Americans, including children. People who suffer with chronic migraines have to deal with this kind of pain for half of every month. Obviously, the condition has profound effects upon family life, work, and social life, which is why a variety of effective treatments are important to have available.

Even more important is having the headaches properly diagnosed. Many times people self-diagnose their headaches as being frequent migraines, but not chronic. They underplay the events and underestimate the profound effect they have on them. Consequently these people self-medicate using drugs that provide quick, but temporary relief from the pain rather than getting a qualified diagnosis from a headache specialist. By having such a diagnosis, these people can avail themselves of treatments that are better and more effective than drugs that work temporarily.

Botox Treatments for Headaches

Treatments using Botox are given at 12 week intervals in the form of multiple injections (31 to be exact) into seven specific sites around the head and neck, in order to dull future headache symptoms, according to the FDA. The maker of Botox says that the treatment should last up to three months when injected at labeled doses in the recommended areas. The FDA also recommends that people who want to use this treatment confer with their doctor first to determine if the treatment is suitable for their particular situation.

It's Works - It Also Has Side Effects

The maker of Botox, Allergan Inc., made a statement saying that the FDA's approval applies to people with chronic migraine headache, which it defined as a "distinct and severe neurological disorder characterized by patients who have a history of migraine and suffer from headaches on 15 or more days per month with headaches lasting four hours a day or longer."

Two studies, involving a total of 1,384 adults in North America and Europe, were the basis of the FDAs approval of the use of Botox for migraines. The studies, which were published in the March 2010 issue of Cephalalgia, reported that people treated with Botox experienced a major decrease in the frequency of headache days.

Of course, as with any drug, there are side effects. In the case of Botox, neck pain is the most common adverse effect reported. A box warning has also been placed by the FDA on the anti-mirgraine drug warning that the effects of the botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism.