In double-blind, placebo-controlled chronic migraine efficacy trials (Study 1 and Study 2), the discontinuation rate was 12% in the BOTOX treated group and 10% in the placebo-treated group. Discontinuations due to an adverse event were 4% in the BOTOX group and 1% in the placebo group. The most frequent adverse events leading to discontinuation in the BOTOX group were neck pain, headache, worsening migraine, muscular weakness and eyelid ptosis.
It takes a village to raise a child. My family members are well aware of how I cope with migraine. They make themselves available to help my children and me often. I rely on people to drive me to doctor’s appointments as well as take my children to sports practices. I arrange carpools and am honest with the people in our lives about how a migraine attack can be unpredictable and suddenly change plans. Every year, I alert my children’s teachers of my chronic migraine and ask them to watch and listen for signs of migraine or stress in my children. I worry about them physically and emotionally and so far, they have handled my disease as they would any other illness. By being honest about the help I need, I find that the people in my life are better equipped to follow through. Many people would like to help but don’t know how. I have given up pride and allowed others to help, which inevitably takes stress away from us all.
When my babies were little, I never discussed migraine with them. As they grew into preschool and elementary age, I found it necessary to explain it to them. They had seen me experience migraine symptoms for a long time but understood it as just being sick. We went to a migraine walk where we talked about how others cope like I do, and they heard other stories that were similar to mine. They felt empowered that we had fundraised for a disease that affects millions and that we were fighting it as a family and community. My children want to help. Having ways they can help builds their confidence in their ability to take care of me, as I do them. They know to turn the lights off, get ice and talk quietly. I have taught them how to be self-sufficient. I’m so proud of how they take care of themselves and are willing to take care of others. The qualities that they’re learning and displaying will carry them through life.
Currently, there are several anti-CGRP treatments undergoing clinical trials. Some of these treatments involve monoclonal antibodies, which reduce the activity of CGRP, potentially leading to fewer migraine attacks. One of these anti-CGRP monoclonal antibodies, erenumab (Aimovig™), has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is now available for patients. A second agent, fremanezumab (Ajovy™), was approved in September 2018. A week later, the FDA approved galcanezumab (Emgality™), making it the third anti-CGRP treatment currently on the market. Results from the clinical trials involving anti-CGRP antibodies have shown that about 50 percent of patients will have at least a 50 percent reduction in migraine days. “If you think about someone who has 20 migraine days per month, they have a 50 percent chance of having 10 or less migraine days,” Dr. Starling says. “We think that there are even these super-responders who have a 75 percent response rate, as well as super-super-responders who actually go into remission.” The results from these clinical trials are very promising, Dr. Starling adds. “The adverse events have been very minimal and the efficacy has been very good. It’s all looking up.” Dr. Starling says that although these medications are available, what really needs to be looked at is how to make them truly accessible for patients. Erenumab can cost about $7,000 per year without insurance coverage. “Insurance coverage is very, very key for the majority of our patient population,” she says. “Because the medications just came out on the market, there are still a lot of unknowns about insurance coverage.”
This is where Botox comes into play. When you get consistent Botox injections, you prevent potential wrinkle formations from getting deeper or worse. Botox limits the range of facial muscle movement (when done skillfully, your face will not get that frozen look) so that wrinkles don't worsen over time. If you have a bad habit of frowning or lifting your brows for no reason, consistent Botox injections can also help your face kick these bad habits and therefore prevent any potential lines from getting etched in your skin. Getting frequent Botox injections may also help relax your facial muscles so that you don't need as a high a dose or as frequent as an injection to maintain your results.
Botox prevents migraine headaches before they start, but takes time to work. “I look to the second and third treatments to maximize effects,” says Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld. “Patients see increasing benefit with an increase in the number of treatment cycles.” One treatment lasts for 10-12 weeks, and patients reported that two Botox treatments reduced the number of headache days by approximately 50%.
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There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, strabismus, or when BOTOX® Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to treat frown lines, crow’s feet lines, and/or forehead lines.