Migraine headaches area a serious disease that affects about 32 million Americans, mostly women. Migraines are recognized by the CDC as a serious health and disability problem with no known cure, only treatment for symptoms. For some, even existing treatment can be completely ineffective, leaving them in intense pain for the length of the migraine headache.
The pain associated with migraines is not simply a ‘bad headache’, and any sufferer can tell you a migraine is so much more than a headache. A Migraine, which begins as a pulsating headache, usually effects one half of the head (though other patterns of migraine pain can present), and includes any or all of these other symptoms: nausea, dizziness, vomiting, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and occasionally loss of vision in one eye. This pain can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. What brings on these episodes is unknown at this time.
Because of the number of people diagnosed with this debilitating disease, many doctors are researching new drugs and therapies to reduce the length and occurrence of migraine headaches. One new therapy uses Botox® to dull the pain of migraines and reduce the frequency of incidents.
Botox® is created from the same bacteria that causes deadly food poisoning when ingested, Botulinum Toxin. Since 1992, it has been used (in an injectable diluted form) in the world of cosmetics to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles in the face. Scientists have recently discovered a new use for Botox® that may help Migraine sufferers.
From: Shape Magazine
A new shot at migraine relief
Turns out Botox can do more than smooth those frown lines: the FDA recently approved the injectable made from the botulinum toxin as a treatment for chronic migraines. “Botox has been shown to block the neurotransmitters that cause headache pain,” explains Peter J. McAllister, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. In a new study, he found that patients who received the treatment-several shots in the head and neck muscles- experienced roughly half as many migraines as they did before. If you suffer from these headaches for 15 days or more a month, ask your physician about Botox. The shots, which last for around three months, cost around 1,000$ to 1,500$, but many insurance companies are starting to cover them for migraines. For more info about the treatment, visit mychronicmigraine.com
Though this may seem like a godsend to Migraine sufferers, don’t sign up for that injection just yet. According to Richard Glogau, MD, UCSF Professor, so far there are “no published, randomized, double-blind trials that show the safety and efficacy of Botox® for treatment of Migraines. In fact, most of the data consists of case reports and meeting abstracts.” The data collected so far seems to favour this new treatment, but not enough time has passed to show the long term effects, or serious adverse reactions.
One study showed strong evidence to support Botox® injections: reported by the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor and Michigan State University found:
“A one-time dose of 25 units of botulinum toxin A injected into the muscles of the brow, forehead and side of the head, reduced the frequency of Migraines, the severity of pain, vomiting, and the use of pain medications for up to three months. A 75-unit treatment yielded Migraine relief, but also [presented] side effects like eyelid drooping. In another study, reported by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, 51 percent of 96 patients reported complete improvement of their Migraine pain.”
For serious Migraine sufferers, this is certainly a procedure to keep in the back of your mind. With the possibility of reducing your disease frequency for up to three months, it may be worth that shot.