Wrinkle-reducing treatments that use botulinum toxin injectables are also used to treat chronic migraines. These treatments, known as neuromodulating drugs, such as BOTOX, were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 for migraine treatment.
The injectables used to treat migraines are the same kind used by aesthetic surgeons and dermatologists to minimize facial wrinkles.
Licensed medical professionals treat migraines by injecting botulinum toxin into multiple areas around the head and neck.
The treatments are approved for select people age 18 and older who experience 15 or more migraine days per month.
It may take four weeks or more after treatment before you see a reduction in the frequency of your migraines, and more than one set of injections may be needed.
How do botulinum toxin injectables help treat migraines?
Researchers are eager to learn how botulinum toxin-based drugs help relieve migraine pain. Evidence suggests that the drug interrupts the pathway of pain transmission between the brain (central nervous system) and nerves that extend from the spinal cord.
When you have a migraine
When you have a migraine, your body releases substances called neurotransmitters and molecules associated with pain. Botulinum toxin interferes with the transmission of these substances, typically where the nerves and muscles meet. Researchers think that when the drug is injected into the muscles around the face, head, and neck, it is taken up by the nerves and interferes with pain-associated neurotransmission.
Why might I need botulinum toxin injections for migraine treatment?
Botulinum toxin treatments have been proved effective in clinical trials and are one way to treat chronic migraines. Other medications, and lifestyle changes, might be recommended. If your doctor determines that you have chronic migraines, you might be a candidate for this treatment.
Botulinum toxin injectables are part of a comprehensive suite of options that neurologists and headache specialists have to treat chronic migraines. While no single option is best for all cases, an approach that includes several different treatments can often reduce headache frequency and severity.
Migraine Treatment with Injectables — What to Expect
• A specialist injects botulinum toxin into the tiny muscles under your skin throughout various areas around your face, head, and neck using a small needle.
• You might get injections in your forehead, temples, and the back of your head and neck. Sometimes the specialist will inject areas called “trigger points” where the headache pain originates.
• These treatments for chronic migraines should be individualized, respecting each patient’s unique anatomy and origin points of pain.
• It can take several weeks and multiple treatments before you start experiencing relief from your migraines. Some patients find they can discontinue injections without frequent migraines returning. Others need regular treatments to keep migraines under control.
• Injectables can effectively reduce the frequency of headaches in patients with chronic migraine and can also reduce debilitating symptoms associated with these migraines.