BOTOX® for Migraines

Now until April 30th! Allergan, the maker of BOTOX®, is offering a Chronic Migraine Co-Pay Assistance Program for eligible patients to help with the cost of their treatment. Please call or email us for more information and eligibility details.

What is BOTOX®?

Botulinum toxin is a natural substance secreted by the bacterium that causes botulism. Botulism is a disorder in which the muscles become paralyzed. BOTOX® works by interfering with neuromuscular transmission, which results in the temporary relaxation of the targeted muscles. It is an effective treatment for various muscle spasms, facial spasms and spasticity. This relief lasts anywhere from three to four months. With headaches, BOTOX® effectively relaxes the muscles of the scalp and reduces both the frequency and severity of headaches.

Guide to Surgery

Is BOTOX® Covered by My Insurance?

Most major insurance entities will cover BOTOX® injections for chronic migraines as long as you meet their specific criteria.  Some insurance companies want to see you exhaust certain medication classes (e.g., you have tried using Topomax for 60 to 90 days with no improvement). Some insurance companies may also need prior authorization.

BOTOX® for Treatment of Migraines

BOTOX®, an injection known widely as a wrinkle fighter and as a substance that could keep your skin young, has now gained an important reputation in the treatment of migraines. It has been tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be a treatment for chronic migraines. Allergan Inc., a company that specializes in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, was accused of using BOTOX® to treat headaches for years, albeit illegally. However, in October 2010, after a $600 million amount had been settled for the allegations, the FDA approved the product for migraine relief.

Typical Areas of Injection

BOTOX® treatment is expensive, and patients may have to be injected every three to six months. The total cost for every visit can vary and may not be covered by insurance. To avoid this, BOTOX® can be used to pinpoint trigger areas and then a surgical process can be followed to remedy muscles that cause headaches. With this process, a patient won’t have to get BOTOX® injections every now and then. Being dependent on BOTOX® is not a good idea, as too much of anything is definitely detrimental. Since it is a sensitive product, BOTOX® should be used with care and precaution.

Talk to an expert before you try BOTOX® injections for pain relief. Medical treatments should be completely exhausted before you opt for BOTOX®. Though it provides instant relief, its long-term benefits are not guaranteed. Researchers are still studying the effects of BOTOX®. They have determined that BOTOX® can treat some forms of migraines and headaches, but it is not effective for all types of headache pain. Every person suffers differently, and the treatment that works for one person may not produce results for another.

BOTOX® for Headaches AND Migraines

BOTOX® (botulinum toxin type A) was approved by the FDA in 1989 for treating strabismus and blepharospasm. In 2002, it was approved for cosmetic surgery, where it is often used to reduce facial wrinkles above the nose. Many patients who get BOTOX® for cosmetic reasons report fewer migraine headaches after receiving the drug.

Essentially, you are paralyzing the muscles that surround tiny nerves in your forehead. Therefore, when migraines occur, those muscles don’t tense up and put pressure on your nerves.

Although it was previously used as an “off-label” treatment for migraines, on October 15, 2010, the FDA approved BOTOX® for treating migraine patients who experience the debilitating headaches for 15 or more days per month.

To treat chronic migraines, BOTOX® is administered approximately every 12 weeks as multiple injections around the head and neck to alleviate future headache symptoms.

BOTOX® treats the following conditions, all approved by the FDA:

  • Chronic migraine headaches
  • Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis)
  • Hemifacial spasm
  • Limb spasticity as seen in such conditions as multiple sclerosis, cerebrovascular disease (strokes), infantile cerebral palsy and hereditary spastic paraplegia
  • Writer’s cramp and other dystonias
  • Hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating)
  • Strabismus
  • Blepharospasm
  • Jaw-closing (oromandibular dystonia)

BOTOX® is also used for “off-label” treatment of the following conditions:

  • Cervical muscle pain
  • Lumbar muscle pain
  • Tremors due to Parkinson’s disease
  • Painful cramps
  • Fibromyositis

When treating migraine headaches, BOTOX® is injected into the muscles of the forehead (frontalis muscles), sides of the scalp (temporal muscles), the occipitalis muscles at the back of the head and the cervical paraspinal muscles. Significant improvements begin in about a week and the effect of BOTOX® usually lasts from three to four months.

Improvement appears to be cumulative in that results improve with the second and third rounds of treatments if the first treatment has only a mild effect. Side effects are minimal.

Please see the full product information provided by the drug manufacturer to understand all the risks and benefits of BOTOX®.  As a courtesy we have provided it for you.