Botox for Migraines
BOTOX FOR CHRONIC MIGRAINES
Botox is a treatment option for adults with chronic migraine. Botox® (onabotulinum toxin A) was licensed specifically for the treatment of chronic migraine in July 2010 by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Botox® has not been shown to be effective for any other headache type (e.g. episodic migraine, tension-type headache, cluster headache) as yet. The information below outlines the evidence for the use of botulinum toxin in headache.
HOW DOES BOTULINUM TOXIN WORK IN CHRONIC MIGRAINE?
The simple answer is that we don’t know fully. A recent US study by Rami Burstein using animal models suggested that botulinum toxin inhibits pain in chronic migraine by reducing the expression of certain pain pathways involving nerve cells in the trigeminovascular system. The trigeminovascular system is a sensory pathway thought to play a key role in the headache phase of a migraine attack.
Unlike many of the other conditions in which it is used, it is not thought to work by relaxing overactive muscles. Botulinum toxin has been shown to reduce pain in a number of disease states, including cervical dystonia, neuropathic pain, lower back pain, spasticity, myofascial pain, and bladder pain.
More research into the mechanism of action of botulinum toxin will hopefully shed light into all the pathways that it acts upon.