Treatment of Migraine Headaches with Botoxulinum toxin A (Botox, Vistabel, Xeomin, Dysport, Azzalure)
Do you suffer from frequent headaches? Did you know that Botox is very effective at preventing both migraine and other headache attacks without the side effects or discomfort that many medications can cause? More and more people today are looking for solutions to their ailments that do not involve ingesting pharmaceuticals. Botox is a very safe and effective treatment for many types of headaches that works externally on the muscles of the head, face and neck without affecting the body internally. Self-help groups for migraines talk openly about how Botox has completely changed their lives.
What is migraine?
A migraine is an acute attack of a bursting headache. The pain is made worse by physical exertion and movement of the head. The exact cause is not known, but migraines can be triggered by stress, hormone changes or certain types of food and drink.
A few different migraine variants exist. A relatively common variation among women is menstrual migraine.
10-20% of migraine sufferers experience an aura in the period right before an attack, which serves as a warning of an oncoming migraine attack.
During the period after the attack, some people report feeling worn out and experience muscle aches.
The prevalence of migraines increases from puberty to the age of 40. About 15% of all women and 7% of all men in Norway get migraines. Nearly 20% will experience one or more migraine attacks during their lifetime. The incidence is highest among women at the age of 40.
What’s the difference between a headache and a migraine?Headaches can cause pain in different parts of the head according to their cause. Some headaches may be caused by physical or psychological stress (tension headaches). Others are caused by sinus pressure (sinus headaches). Cluster headaches refer to particularly intense headaches that tend to happen around the same time each day.
On the other hand, migraines often involve other symptoms aside from head pain. They may include dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, as well as severe fatigue (tiredness). Migraines may occur in different phases, which may involve symptoms and signs like blurred vision, mood disturbances, and trouble with speech.
The good news is that Botox is approved in the treatment of many types of headaches and migraines and is very effective at offering relief!
Migraines are attacks with unilateral, pulsating headaches that last anywhere from 4-72 hours and return periodically. The pain is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness, visual disturbances and sound sensitivity. Which side of the head is affected can vary from attack to attack. The pain can be on both sides (10-40%) or start on one side and then become generalized. Other symptoms may include enhanced sensory sensitivity before the headache sets in, causing the patient to seek a dark, quiet room. Accompanying neck pain occurs in 75% of sufferers. Common side effects of attacks include depression, tiredness, anxiety, nervousness, irritability and impaired concentration.
The following symptoms may also occur: blurred vision, nasal congestion, anorexia, hunger, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, increased urination, facial bleaching, hot flushes, cold spells, sweating.
How are migraines treated with Botox?
When a migraine sufferer has tried all non-prescription painkillers (such as Paracet, Ibux and Voltaren), beta-blockers (blood pressure medicine) are then prescribed. Some respond well to beta-blockers while others respond well to specially developed migraine attack medicines called triptans. Triptans generally work best if they are taken as soon as one notices a migraine attack coming on. Beta-blockers and triptans are tolerated to varying degrees of success by patients, but are not preventive of multiple attacks. Botox, on the other hand, is tolerated extremely well and has both a pain relief effect and preventative quality.
A majority of patients have mixed migraine headaches, which are triggered by a tension headache. Tension headaches are caused by overactive muscles in the head, neck and back which can in turn trigger migraine attacks. By injecting Botox into these muscle areas, the pain signals will be blocked and thus indirectly inhibit the development of migraine. In this way, Botox can both prevent attacks and contribute to pain relief.
How is the treatment done?
Depending on the type of migraine headache, Botox is injected into different places in the head and face. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and other factors, injections might also be required in the neck and back muscles. In severe cases, over 30 injections might be given.
The needles used to inject Botox are extremely thin and do not usually elicit any skin pain or reaction. Treatment is also relatively fast; the duration varies depending on the severity and the size of the area to be treated but 20-40 minutes is common.
What results can I expect?
Botox has been medically and scientifically proven to work on many types of headaches and gives great results! Many patients experience so much pain relief that their lives are completely changed. After about 4 days you will start to notice a decrease in headache severity and it takes about 2 weeks to reach maximum effect.
A flattering bonus for many patients is wrinkle-free areas in the face as Botox is used in aesthetic medicine to treat furrows and wrinkles.
How many treatments should I have?
Botox is not a permanent treatment and requires new treatments for maintenance.
The effect of Botox varies from person to person and depends on the size of the muscles being treated and the severity of the headaches. Normally, we can expect a Botox treatment to last about 3-6 months and should be repeated anywhere from 2-4 times per year.
What happens after treatment? Side effects?
Botox is well tolerated by almost everyone. Only very rare cases of allergic reaction have ever been reported. As for side effects, these can be seen in the form of small mosquito-like dots in the injection area, but these are transient and disappear usually within a half hour.
Why choose migraine treatment at ProDerma Scandinavia?
In order for Botox to be completely safe, expertise in proper injection technique, dosage, and anatomical and physiological conditions in the body is required. At ProDerma Scandinavia you can rest assured that our doctors meet the highest possible standards of training and continuing education required to give optimum results.
Price / public support
Prices depend on the amount of Botox used and how many areas are injected, which can involve anywhere between 100-200 Botox units. Costs can range from NOK 4000 for a simple treatment to 6000 for severe cases.
If you have a chronic migraine diagnosis and have received approval for free Botox on prescription from Helfo, special prices apply. As of 23.06.20, only neurologists can apply to Helfo on your behalf for free Botox on prescription (blå resept). Please see the follow link for more information (in Norwegian only):
The above information is given as guidance as a part of the decision-making process and is not an exhaustive description of the procedures and treatments. Information shall be up to date at the time of publishing and will be updated at our discretion. Our doctors will assess and determine your suitability before treatment. Consult The Norwegian Pharmaceutical Product Compendium (Felleskatalogen AS) for complete information about any described medicine. All rights reserved.