BOTOX injections for migraines is a preventative treatment, rather than treating the condition with pain medication. It was FDA-approved in 2010 and is considered an appropriate treatment for adults who experience migraine headaches more than 15 days per month, for more than three months. The product blocks the release of certain brain chemicals, and it is believed that blocking these chemicals limits the nerve signals causing pain.
Spread of toxin effects.The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.
The migraines started later in life, before my lupus diagnosis. While sometimes they’d come out of the blue or I’d wake up with them, other times I’d see them coming. From a neurologist’s suggestion, I learned some of my “triggers” such as weather changes (specifically, drops in barometric pressure and incoming storms), hormonal changes and dairy. This past year I significantly reduced my dairy intake and although that didn’t eliminate the migraines, if I did eat dairy, I was sure to get one. Many of my migraines would also start as tension headaches. My neck is always extremely tight and eventually the constant tightness causes a migraine. Due to this, my old rheumatologist suggested taking a muscle relaxer at the beginning of a headache or before bed to keep my muscles from tensing up overnight and preventing a migraine. It worked sometimes… but definitely not enough.
Just because not every cosmetic Botox procedure is FDA-approved doesn't mean it's not safe and effective, if done properly. Off-label procedures are still within the standard of care, and there are tons of them. “There are so many non-FDA-approved applications for Botox,” says dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. “It can be used to decrease scalp-sweating (which helps prolong blowouts), correct a droopy nasal tip (called nasal-tip ptosis), fix brow asymmetry, minimize bunny lines from wrinkling your nose, decrease skin oiliness, minimize the appearance of pores...” The list goes on and on.
I’ve had migraines since I was 12, but in 2015 my attacks got much worse. Without migraine-specific painkillers, my migraines make me queasy and tired, forcing me to go to bed with a freezing wet towel on my head. For the last two years, I’ve tried different medications, switched birth control pills, made lifestyle changes (less stress, more swimming, no alcohol) — to little avail. My migraines would improve for a while, but then they came back, worse than ever. Then this year, I finally discovered a treatment that works — Botox.
BOTOX injections for migraines is a preventative treatment, rather than treating the condition with pain medication. It was FDA-approved in 2010 and is considered an appropriate treatment for adults who experience migraine headaches more than 15 days per month, for more than three months. The product blocks the release of certain brain chemicals, and it is believed that blocking these chemicals limits the nerve signals causing pain.
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Botox injections use onaboutlinumtoxin A, also known as the botulinum toxin, injected in small amounts to certain points in the head to treat migraine headaches, tension headaches, and chronic daily headaches. This treatment has been shown to be most effective for headaches that are located in the forehead and neck. Botox has also been used to treat the following conditions:
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.
The potency Units of BOTOX are specific to the preparation and assay method utilized. They are not interchangeable with other preparations of botulinum toxin products and, therefore, units of biological activity of BOTOX cannot be compared to nor converted into units of any other botulinum toxin products assessed with any other specific assay method [see DESCRIPTION].
Pharmaceutical companies are not without blame. One reason why insurers impose step therapy is high drug prices. Botox, which is made from the toxin of certain bacteria, is much more expensive than other migraine treatments like beta blockers, which are available as generics. Botox costs about $4,800 a year, but with injection fees, treatment can cost up to $10,000 a year. “They could lower the price,” says Loder. “Their goal is to maximize return on investment for their stockholders. That’s not the same thing as maximizing benefits for patients, unfortunately.”
Study 2 compared 3 doses of BOTOX with placebo and included 91 patients [BOTOX 360 Units (N=21), BOTOX 180 Units (N=23), BOTOX 90 Units (N=21), and placebo (N=26)] with upper limb spasticity (expanded Ashworth score of at least 2 for elbow flexor tone and at least 3 for wrist flexor tone) who were at least 6 weeks post-stroke. BOTOX and placebo were injected with EMG guidance into the flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum sublimis, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and bic eps brachii (see Table 27).

The cosmetic effect of BTX-A on wrinkles was originally documented by a plastic surgeon from Sacramento, California, Richard Clark, and published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1989.[51] Canadian husband and wife ophthalmologist and dermatologist physicians, JD and JA Carruthers, were the first to publish a study on BTX-A for the treatment of glabellar frown lines in 1992.[52] Similar effects had reportedly been observed by a number of independent groups (Brin, and the Columbia University group under Monte Keen.[53]) After formal trials, on April 12, 2002, the FDA announced regulatory approval of botulinum toxin type A (Botox Cosmetic) to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines).[54] Subsequently, cosmetic use of botulinum toxin type A has become widespread.[78] The results of Botox Cosmetic can last up to four months and may vary with each patient.[79] The US Food and Drug Administration approved an alternative product-safety testing method in response to increasing public concern that LD50 testing was required for each batch sold in the market.[55][56]
Study 1 included 126 patients (64 BOTOX and 62 placebo) with upper limb spasticity (Ashworth score of at least 3 for wrist flexor tone and at least 2 for finger flexor tone) who were at least 6 months post -stroke. BOTOX (a total dose of 200 Units to 240 Units) and placebo were injected intramuscularly (IM) into the flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digito rum sublimis, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and if necessary into the adductor pollicis and flexor pollicis longus (see Table 25). Use of an EMG/nerve stimulator was recommended to assist in proper muscle localization for injection. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.
Marrying ophthalmology to dermatology, Jean and Alistair Carruthers observed that blepharospasm patients who received injections around the eyes and upper face also enjoyed diminished facial glabellar lines (“frown lines” between the eyebrows), thereby initiating the highly-popular cosmetic use of the toxin.[52] Brin, and a group at Columbia University under Monte Keen made similar reports.[53] In 2002, following clinical trials, the FDA approved Botox Cosmetic, botulinum A toxin to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe glabellar lines.[54] The FDA approved a fully in vitro assay for use in the stability and potency testing of Botox in response to increasing public concern that LD50 testing was required for each batch sold in the market.[55][56]
It may be necessary for the patient to have additional procedures, such as the use of filler substances (for example, Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm, Sculptra, or Radiesse) in order to plump up the wrinkles that are now relaxed. Additionally, it may be necessary to have two or three sessions of Botox treatment for deeper wrinkles before results become optimal. The area of the crease between the eyes is a particularly ideal area for Botox use in conjunction with filler as these fixed wrinkles don't always respond optimally to Botox alone. There is some controversy about using filler in that area as it may block veins or arteries and result in loss of blood and a scar to the area. Generally, the smaller particle fillers, such as Restylane or Juvederm Ultra, are best in the area between the eyes for this reason.
Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX® have not been established for the treatment of other upper or lower limb muscle groups or for the treatment of spasticity in pediatric patients under age 18 years. BOTOX® has not been shown to improve upper extremity functional abilities, or range of motion at a joint affected by a fixed contracture. Treatment with BOTOX® is not intended to substitute for usual standard of care rehabilitation regimens.
The toxin itself is released from the bacterium as a single chain, then becomes activated when cleaved by its own proteases.[11] The active form consists of a two-chain protein composed of a 100-kDa heavy chain polypeptide joined via disulfide bond to a 50-kDa light chain polypeptide.[35] The heavy chain contains domains with several functions: it has the domain responsible for binding specifically to presynaptic nerve terminals, as well as the domain responsible for mediating translocation of the light chain into the cell cytoplasm as the vacuole acidifies.[1][35] The light chain is a zinc metalloprotease and is the active part of the toxin. It is translocated into the host cell cytoplasm where it cleaves the host protein SNAP-25, a member of the SNARE protein family which is responsible for fusion. The cleaved SNAP-25 is unable to mediate fusion of vesicles with the host cell membrane, thus preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings.[1] This blockage is slowly reversed as the toxin loses activity and the SNARE proteins are slowly regenerated by the affected cell.[1]
It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe or effective to treat increased stiffness in upper limb muscles other than those in the elbow, wrist, fingers, and thumb, or in lower limb muscles other than those in the ankle and toes. BOTOX® has not been shown to help people perform task-specific functions with their upper limbs or increase movement in joints that are permanently fixed in position by stiff muscles. Treatment with BOTOX® is not meant to replace existing physical therapy or other rehabilitation that may have been prescribed.
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