There are approximately 30 million chronic migraine headache sufferers in the US. Migraine headaches are a debilitating condition. Patients dealing with this seek many forms of treatment. Botulinum toxin A, also known as Botox, is a possible remedy, but there are myths about who it works for and how it works. Botox is a drug whose origin is a bacterial toxin. It is injected into the skin to treat muscular conditions or smooth wrinkles. Below are a few myths associated with the use of Botox for migraine headaches.
(1) Botox treatment is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for migraine use.
False! In 2010, the FDA approved the use of Botox for chronic migraine sufferers. Botox is generally safe to use, but in rare cases, a patient can have an allergic reaction with symptoms including hives, shortness of breath, and swelling. These occurrences are rare but will manifest almost immediately after the injections have occurred. Seeking medical help in the case of an allergic reaction is vital.
(2) All migraine headache sufferers are eligible for Botox treatment.
Not all! Botox is approved for CHRONIC migraine sufferers. Chronic migraine sufferers, as defined by the FDA, are patients who suffer from 15 or more migraine headaches each month, and the duration of each migraine headache is at least four hours. In other words, chronic migraine sufferers spend at least half of each month dealing with the effects of their migraine headaches so, for the patient who has less frequent migraine headaches, Botox is not an approved remedy.
(3) Botox works immediately to relieve migraines.
Instant relief after one round of injections is unlikely. Over weeks and months, chronic migraine sufferers tend to experience fewer migraine headaches and/or the length and severity of the migraine headaches are minimized.
(4) The more Botox I have, the better I will be.
Botox injections for migraine headaches tend to be administered every three months. If you are getting Botox injections for cosmetic purposes, you must inform both doctors of what you are doing. More Botox is generally not better even when it is for different purposes.
(5) Botox is not covered by most insurance providers.
Before the FDA approved the use of Botox for migraines in 2010, health insurance providers did not cover the cost. Since its approval, most carriers will cover it because it is deemed as preventative medicine similar to a pill or other prescription drug for migraines.
Getting Botox for migraine headaches is not a decision to be made lightly. Develop a relationship with a neurologist and determine if Botox injections are appropriate for you. The number and placement of injections vary by patient based on his or her unique symptoms.
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