Does Botox Help Prevent Chronic Migraines?

Everyone has suffered from a headache.  There are many types of headaches, including tension, cluster, and migraine to name a few.  Botox has been shown to be effective in preventing chronic migraines.  Chronic migraines are defined as a headache that:

1)  Occurs at least 15 days per month

2)  Lasts more than four hours

3)  Occurs for three consecutive months

About 3.2 million people suffer from chronic headaches in the United States.  This condition can greatly affect the quality of one’s life.  As a facial plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Dr. William Binder was the first to report the use of Botox in the treatment of headaches during the early 1990′s.  Since that time, Botox has only been found to be effective in treating chronic migraines.  In patients with chronic migraines, Botox has been shown to:

1)  Decrease the frequency of their migraines at least 50% of the time in 50% of the patients after the first dose.  After 3 doses, almost 70% of the patients experienced a 50% decrease in their frequency of migraines.

2)  Decrease the overall severity of their migraines

3)  Decrease the longevity of each migraine

Traditionally, chronic migraine prevention has consisted of Topiramate and Topamax.  When compared to Botox, Topiramate has more side effects and a lower tolerance rate, but it is significantly cheaper than Botox.

Botox injections have not been proven effective in treating episodic migraines or tension headaches.

Where is the Botox placed to prevent chronic migraines?

In the medical community, there is not a consensus on the best location and dosage for Botox migraine injections.  The best and largest study, known as the PREEMPT study, was focused on the treatment of chronic migraines and injected Botox into the forehead, temples, and the neck muscles.  Based on the evidence presented in this study, I believe that this represents the best technique.

How do I know if Botox would be a good treatment for my chronic migraines?

Chronic migraines are a complicated medical condition that require an evaluation by a headache specialist.  There are many treatments available for this condition.  The headache specialist will determine if Botox is an option for you.

If you need to make an appointment with a headache specialist, please contact our plastic surgery clinic and we will refer you.  If you and your headache specialist decide that Botox would be a good treatment option, I would be honored to provide your treatment.

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