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Botox® and Migraine

Botox® has been licensed for the treatment and prevention of Migraine since 2010 but the actual effectiveness has been questioned until now. A review of all the evidence was published recently and the result showed that Botox® WAS effective in preventing Migraine. In this blog we explain more about the study and what it means for the millions of migraine sufferers out there!


Migraines are a type of headache, often felt as a throbbing on one side of the head. You may also find you suffer the following symptoms too:

  • Sickness and vomiting
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound

Migraines are common in women (1 in 5) and in men (1 in 15) and is thought to be caused by nerve signals, chemicals and the blood vessels in the brain. You may find certain factors characteristically trigger your migraine like stress, diet and hormonal changes.

Botox®- how does it work?

Botox® works by blocking the release of acetylcholine (a chemical in nerves). This chemical helps to activate muscles and by blocking its effect you can reduce muscle activity and other chemicals that can contribute to migraines (e.g. glutamate). Hence, if you carefully inject Botox® you can prevent migraines from occurring in the first place.

Botox® and Migraines- what did the study show?

The research analysed 17 studies looking at 3,646 patients in total. Botox® injections to the head and neck resulted in:

  • 1.6 fewer migraine attacks per month for chronic sufferers who have >15 headaches per month
  • Reduced depressive symptoms associated with migraine

The main benefit of Botox® injections was seen 2 months after having treatment. Some side effects were reported which are often found with having Botox® treatment. These included:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Neck pain and muscle tightness
  • Double vision

Importantly no severe side effects were reported in the study.


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