Botulinum toxin A, has been found to be effective in treating chronic migraine headaches, approved by FDA and HSA. Botulinum toxin A is not used however in an acute migraine attack, instead it is used as a preventative measure to reduce the frequency of migraines and lessen their severity when they do occur.
The botulinum toxin is injected into specific areas and points on the head and neck region. It works by blocking the release of certain chemicals in nerve endings, which leads to the transmission of pain signals. By blocking this nerve terminals, botulinum toxin can “quieten down” the overactive nerve signals that leads to migraines. So, essentially, the toxin is preventing the brain from receiving the “pain messages” the nerves are trying to send. This doesn’t cure migraines, but it can reduce the number of days you experience a migraine and may make them less severe when they do occur.
The procedure involves several small injections in specific areas of your face, head, neck and shoulders. It is done according to an international standard protocol with specific quantity set out by the study protocol, and approved by FDA and HSA. It is essential to note that this is different from an aesthetic procedure. It is usually done in a doctor’s office, taking about 15-30minutes. The effects usually take about a week to start working and can last for three months or more.
The treatment is generally safe, but like all medical treatments, it has potential side effects. The most common ones include pain or bruising at the injection site, or eyelid drooping if the patient rubs the site of injection. However, these are usually temporary, and improves without treatment.
To Note: It’s important to remember that while botulinum toxin can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines for some people, it may not work for everyone, and it’s not typically the first line of treatment for migraine. It’s usually considered for people whose migraines aren’t well-controlled by more traditional migraine medications. A decision for treatment should be made in consultation with your neurologist, taking into account one’s severity and frequency of migraine, and after a discussion of potential risk and benefits of treatment options.