There are myths about everything and using Botox for migraines is no exception to this. A myth is defined as a widely held belief that is ultimately not true. Unfortunately, since myths can perpetuate false information regarding a certain subject, they can be harmful to those seeking the truth. When it comes to using Botox for migraines, here are the top 5 myths that you should be aware of:
Myth: Botox is only used to treat people who experience intense migraines daily.
Truth: You don’t have to be suffering from intense, daily migraines to be a candidate for Botox injections. In fact, anyone with headache and/or migraine episodes can be a potential candidate. However, the general candidacy requirement states that patients must have a minimum of 15 headaches or more that last four hours a day or longer per month.
Myth: Botox provides immediate relief.
Truth: Unfortunately, the first Botox injection does not often provide immediate relief. In most cases, you can expect to notice the effects of Botox in a few weeks to a few months. Since Botox affects everyone differently, you can also expect to have varying results. In some cases, Botox eliminates the episodes entirely, while in other cases it may decrease the severity and/or frequency of the episodes.
Myth: Botox is not FDA approved for treating chronic migraines.
Truth: In 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved Botox for the use of treating chronic migraines. However, the FDA has only approved Botox usage in patients over the age of 18 that have 15 or more headaches per month that last four or more hours.
Myth: You can ignore triggers while on Botox.
Truth: Migraine triggers can still trigger migraines, even if you are undergoing treatment with Botox. However, you may find that you are less reactive to certain triggers while on Botox. It is also important to remember that your triggers can change over time and that some triggers are stronger than others.
Myth: Once on Botox, you no longer need to take acute medications.
Truth: Depending on your symptoms, you may still need to take acute medications. Ultimately, your neurologist will help you decide which medications to continue while undergoing treatment with Botox.
Myth: Cosmetic Botox injections are not part of my medical history.
Truth: No matter why you are having Botox injections, you need to communicate with all your doctors if you had Botox in the past and when that injection was. On average, Botox injections are given every three months and receiving multiple injections in this timeframe can be potentially hazardous. Therefore, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your neurologist and other doctors before getting injections for multiple conditions.
Dr. Kashouty, a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), practices general neurology with fellowship trained specialization in clinical neurophysiology. Dr. Kashouty finds the form and function of the nerves and muscles the most interesting part of neurology, which is what led him to specialize in neurophysiology with more emphasis on neuromuscular conditions. He treats all neurological diseases, but his main focus is to treat and manage headaches, movement disorders and neuromuscular diseases.