Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide found all over the body, says Dr. Amaal Starling, an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. This neuropeptide attaches to a receptor called a CGRP receptor. CGRP and its receptor are involved in numerous bodily processes—from gastrointestinal movement to the transmission of pain. Over the past few decades, there has been increasing evidence that CGRP plays a role in both migraine and cluster headache. During a migraine attack, researchers have found increased levels of CGRP in patients’ blood and saliva. They discovered migraine medications like sumatriptan reduced levels of CGRP in patients living with migraine. They also found that patients with chronic migraine—meaning 15 or more migraine days per month, eight of which either meet criteria for migraine or are treated with migraine-specific medication—had chronically elevated levels of CGRP. In addition, recent research found that giving a patient with migraine an infusion of CGRP would lead to a migraine-like attack. “All of these studies led to the hypothesis that CGRP and its receptor play a key role in migraine, as well as in cluster headache,” Dr. Starling says.
The one side effect that we most commonly see with Botox for migraine, ironically, is increased headache pain in the days immediately following the injections. Interestingly, some patients have the opposite effect, noticing immediate pain relief. That may be due to an acupuncture-like response, where poking needles into unhappy muscles actually makes them feel better.
Autonomic dysreflexia associated with intradetrusor injections of BOTOX could occur in patients treated for detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition and may require prompt medical therapy. In clinical trials, the incidence of autonomic dysreflexia was greater in patients treated with BOTOX 200 Units compared with placebo (1.5% versus 0.4%, respectively).
Botox is best known for smoothing out wrinkles, but since 2010 it’s also been used to prevent migraines. (Scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why Botox works, though it may interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.) Though the 36 injections I get every three months in my forehead, skull, neck, and shoulders are painful, they’ve been a game changer. I went from 16 to 18 migraines a month to about eight. The intensity of the pain has gone down, too. The results are so good that I find myself frustrated that I spent so many years in unnecessary misery.
BOTOX may be an effective treatment for those who suffer from chronic migraines. Many patients have struggled to find a treatment that truly provides relief from this debilitating condition. While there are migraine medications and a host of natural remedies, for many people, none of these methods bring real relief. BOTOX may be the option that brings the relief from pain that patients have been seeking for so long.
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.