On October 15, 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Botox injection (onabotulinumtoxinA) to prevent headaches in adult patients with chronic migraine. Chronic migraine is defined as having a history of migraine and experiencing a headache on most days of the month.   it is estimated that about 6% of men and 18% of women suffer from migraine headaches during any given year.

“Chronic migraine is one of the most disabling forms of headache,” said Russell Katz, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Patients with chronic migraine experience a headache more than 14 days of the month. This condition can greatly affect family, work, and social life, so it is important to have a variety of effective treatment options available.”

Migraine headaches are described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head. The headaches are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine is three times more common in women than in men. Migraine usually begins with intermittent headache attacks 14 days or fewer each month (episodic migraine), but some patients go on to develop the more disabling chronic migraine.

To treat chronic migraines, Botox is given approximately every 12 weeks as multiple injections around the head and neck to try to dull future headache symptoms. Botox has not been shown to work for the treatment of migraine headaches that occur 14 days or less per month, or for other forms of headache. It is important that patients discuss with their physician whether Botox is appropriate for them.

The most common adverse reactions reported by patients being treated for chronic migraine were neck pain and headache (NOTE from this blogger:   FDA should define what kind of headache---treat migraine headaches with a medicine that may cause headaches???).

OnabotulinumtoxinA, marketed as Botox and Botox Cosmetic, has a boxed warning that says 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. Those symptoms include swallowing and breathing difficulties that can be life-threatening. There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect when Botox has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, or strabismus, or when Botox Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to improve frown lines.



Very interesting article. I'll consider this for patients who do not respond to our chiropractic care as well as we would like.

I use in Peru, successful, natural noni extract to relieve chronic migraine.I wash the fruit first, then add grape juice or filtered water, then process in blender and strain. I drink a daily glass of this preparation. The result is excellent

I had never heard of botox being used to treat migraines before reading this post. Interesting to know. My mother get migranes. Maybe this is a route she can go for a remedy. Although I do have to agree with the previous comment, in that this remedy does scare me some. One other question? What is the botox doing to the body that the common response to adverse reactions is neck pain? Thanks for the post.

My wife's migraines were definitely mitigated by Botox. She did not have them before her pregnancies, but now, the only really lasting treatment appears to be the application of Botox.

Good article. Heard about this a while ago but never really expected it to be something this useful.

Nice blog, I never new that the Botox could be a solution for a migraine, considering I could use the lift and would do anything to fix my headaches.. Thanks a bunch for helping my medical condition.

I can see how Botox would be effective for mitigating tension headaches, which are caused by overexertion of certain facial muscles, but a migraine is a severe form of a vascular headache. I'm certainly not anti-Botox and I may even get it myself when I start getting noticeable expression lines -- hey, I'm vain -- but if you're a true migraine sufferer, I wouldn't get too excited about this being a panacea. If you want to avoid taking pills, why not try alternative practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and inversion therapy?

In the future I will also send patients who have chronic migraines who do not respond well to chiropractic or drugs. I know I send a lot of my TMJ patients to a dentist who specializes in botox injections. It seems to help a lot.

My concern is how does Botox prevent the migraine? After 12 sessions do you have enough Botox that it stays in your system indefinitely to prevent future ones? That is a scary thought. Botox is derived from a poison after all. I wonder if there have been any studies on the long term effect of using Botox, for any reason? EDITOR'S NOTE: Botox injections are temporary and you raise a good question about the safety of long term use.

Botox for migraines? I find that a little unbelievable, but I guess those who suffer from them will find this at least a little bit of good news. I can appreciate the research that goes into it, but sometimes I think the researchers will simply try anything and when one little factor proves their research, it is taken as gospel. I guess only time will tell. Thanks...

I have the experience with headaches, sometimes mild and sometimes also feels very heavy. But most of the headaches that I experienced can be cured with a few non-drug therapy, perhaps if a more severe headache, next time I will try to heal with botox.

Thank you for sharing this article. It's wonderful to read about new and improved scientific developments which enable people who suffer with chronic pain to regain a life free from the debilitating constraints of pain.

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cool, really helpful blog. Thanks for sharing this nice blog. Really enjoyed reading it and will share it with my friends.

My mom has been suffering from chronic migraine frequently. Pain killers and regular medicines never work. Introducing her to Botox treatment might help her a lot. It hurts to see my mom suffering from migraine. This has got to be the safest and quickest way to ease her pain.

I have heard from patients that Botox has really helped, and from others that had no benefit...I think it really depends on why the patient is having the headaches in the first place. Obviously, Botox paralyzes muscles, so if they are muscular in origin, it could help. To the chiropractor in LV, some TMJ patients do see benefit from Botox (again b/c of the muscular involvement), but it is not FDA approved for use in the TMJ at this point in time. I've also heard from patients who have felt worse after having it...so, I would caution any TMJ patient who was going to consider Botox that it is a buyer beware situation right now.

Thanks for putting this up. Very interesting read. Will explore with my Doctor and see what he thinks. Regards...

Might be worth checking out for the small percentage of my patients that do not respond to chiropractic care, usually less than 5%.

this is good to know, as not everyone responds the same to mainstream treatments.

For an additional idea, Allergan was fined $375million last year for marketing Botox with no proof of its efficacy.But its safety and efficacy has been supported by The FDA, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.For those experiencing chronic migraine, it is still safe to consult board certified surgeon and ask questions like if Botox is an appropriate treatment for you. There are certain requirements before a patient is qualified to take this treatment.

It's frustrating to see all the focus of various headache interventions being spent on pharmaceutical interventions. When will researchers recognize all the positive outcomes for various conservative approaches, and I am not just talking about chiropractic. Numerous studies have been published showing overwhelmingly positive evidence in support of these various conservative methods including chiropractic, massage, nutrition, osteopathy etc.

Interesting article. I still like the approach of trying less invasive interventions first. All the best.

Thank you for the article. As bad as migraines are, with as much as those dear folks who suffer with them do, and as bad as we want to rid them of their pain. I am not sure resorting to botox is the answer. I agree with a couple of the other posts in here, it is kinda scary.

My wife has suffered horribly with Migraines. I recently had the pleasure of Meeting Dr. John Haché a world authority on pain resolution including Migraine Pain. He is an advocate of an FDA approved technology for the treatment of chronic pain, Bio-Electro Stimulation You might find it interesting to read my interview with him on my website below about this amazing technology. There is also a section related to Botox where Canadian Health has put a warning on their website about the dangers of using Botox for Migraines.

I still am not convinced how botox can solve migraine problems.

Migraine could sometimes be a real pain. People have to deal with it at some point of their lives. I'm glad newer ideas are being develop to treat this from happening.

Very helpful blog contents. This is good to know, as not everyone responds the same to mainstream treatments. Thanks for sharing this nice blog. Really enjoyed reading it and will share it with my friends.

This is good to know. Migraines can sometimes be a real pain. Interesting article, thanks for sharing.