Health In Focus
  • Botox is now found to offer treatment for migraine
  • Migraine is a common neurological disorder
  • Botox is a neurotoxin isolated from the organism Clostridium botulinum.
Botox is now being used for chronic migraine sufferers as an effective treatment procedure based on research studies.
Botox Found to Be the Best Treatment for Migraines
Botox Found to Be the Best Treatment for Migraines

Migraine is an extremely common yet debilitating neurological disorder that is characterized by severe headaches, photophobia (extreme sensitivity to light), phonophobia (fear of loud sounds), nausea and vomiting, tingling sensation and numbness in the face. The severe headaches can last from 4 hours to 72 hours. Migraine is said to be chronic if it occurs for longer than 15 days in a month.

Facts About Migraine

  • There are more number of migraine sufferers in the U.S than the number of people with diabetes or asthma.
  • In India, though there is no official count, there are considerable number of people who suffer from migraine, with more women and people affected in rural areas
  • The headaches and nausea are very severe and affect the quality of life of people with migraines.
  • Chronic migraine results in headaches every day which can affect the individual's ability to cope with career and academic prospects.
  • Migraine leads to depression, anxiety and sleeplessness among patients.
Onabotulinum toxin A is a neurotoxin that is isolated from the organism Clostridium botulinum. This toxin was initially used in the treatment of squint eyes and blepharospasm. Later, it was also used for post-stroke spasticity, hyperhidrosis (increased sweating) and dystonia (abnormal muscle tone), but it gained immense popularity when it was used to remove wrinkles in the forehead and crow's feet for cosmetic benefits. Russo M and colleagues in a study titled " The use of onabotulinum toxin A (Botox) in the treatment of chronic migraine at the Parma Headache Center: a prospective observational study" and published in the Journal Neurological Sciences (April 2016) studied the effect of Botox on migraine patients.

Chronic migraine patients were treated with Onabotulinum toxin A between February 2014 and November 2015 at the Parma Headache Centre. 52 patients were included in the study and were injected with Botox every 3 months. The patients were tested for:
  • Reduction in intensity of migraines
  • Disability
  • Tolerance to treatment
  • Depression
  • Dependence on symptomatic drugs
Only 14 patients received treatment for 9 months and in these patients, there was a reduction in the intensity of migraines, depression and lowered dependence on symptomatic drugs.

Another study focused on the long-term benefits of using botox and whether there were any side effects caused due to the treatment measure. This study conducted by Kollewe K and colleagues is titled "Long-term treatment of chronic migraine with OnabotulinumtoxinA: efficacy, quality of life and tolerability in a real-life setting." and published in the Journal of Neural Transmission (April 2016).

In this study, 25 females and 2 males with chronic migraine were included in the study and were treated with botox injections for an average period of 79 weeks. It was found that patients who received this treatment showed:
  • Reduced incidences of migraine
  • Lowered need for migraine medications
  • A healthier life
  • A drop in depression
The benefits that were obtained on receiving botox treatment for chronic migraine remained stable throughout the entire period of study. Moreover, there were very few incidences of adverse effects and even the few were mild.

Mode of Action of Botox

Though it is not fully understood, scientists believe that botox inhibits pain by blocking pain pathways in the trigeminovascular system which plays a crucial role in the headaches induced during a migraine attack.

Botox for Other Body Pains

Botox has been found to provide relief for neuropathic pain, lower back pain, bladder pain and myofascial pain.

Side Effects of Botox

Very few people develop side effects and none of the side effects are alarming.
  • Neck pain
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Muscular weakness
In the treatment of migraine, 31 injections of botox are administered at 7 sites on the head. The efficacy of this treatment and minimum side effects promise a better solution for patients with chronic migraine.

Source: Medindia

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