New Study Suggests that Botox is working for Chronic Migraine, but …

1160 patients across Europe were a part of a recent study to see just how effective onabotulinumtoxinA (sometimes sold under the brand name Botox) was in treating patients with chronic migraine. We all hear stories, but if you take a large sample, what are the results?

First, a little background. This group was 15.8% male and 84.2% female. The mean age was 46.6 years old. About half of them had used Botox before. The study had data from over 4000 treatments.

The basic good news was that most patients – 74.4% – were satisfied or even extremely satisfied with their treatment.

This tells us that the treatment is helping, but not how much it’s helping. But for those who are curious, the treatment usually involved about 31 injection sites and a dose of 155 U. Treatments tended to be about 13-14 weeks apart, or just over 3 months.

The most commonly reported side effect was neck pain.

As we have talked about before, onabotulinumtoxinA treatment is helping migraine patients, but there is reason to believe it could be helping a lot more. There are a lot of variables that we would like to know more about. Which type of migraine is most responsive to this treatment? Which injection sites are the best? Could we get the same results with a lower dosage?

Now that we’ve seen the data, what’s your experience? Leave a comment!

Read more about this study: Utilization and safety of onabotulinumtoxinA for the prophylactic treatment of chronic migraine from an observational study in Europe

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7 comments… add one
  • Meems Aug 17, 2017

    With Botox, Migraines went from ~ 18-20 to 4-6 a month. So less frequent and less severe. First time, it worked for two weeks and got better and better. Twice, it didn’t work at all.

  • Mary Creighton Aug 19, 2017

    I tried Botox not long after they first started using it for migraine. I’m not sure about recommended dose, at the time. I didn’t have any success and he said he used the lowest dose and we tried it a second time, but I know there weren’t 31 doses, that time either. I waited for more than 5 years to try it again. This time the doctor did all 31 shots across my forehead, neck and shoulders. I still didn’t get any relief, at all so I never went back again. Did I stop too soon? Do you need several treatments for it to be effective, or is it apparent that it’s working, right away? I don’t remember anyone telling me those things, back when I tried it. Has anyone else gotten relief after several tries or do you know after you try it the very first time?

    • Kari Sep 27, 2017

      I tried BOTOX for 6 sets and got no relief whatsoever. I also had increased neck pain which didn’t help my already chronic neck pain. I also had droopiness of the eyes and eyebrows so instead of helping my facial features it made things worse. I don’t know if there are different sites that they use for facial treatments. But my use of Botox did the opposite for my face.

      • Holly Oct 2, 2017

        Dear Kari. The injection sites are quite different than those used for facial treatments. You should try to find a doctor who has studied the injection sites. Good luck, and I hope it helps as much as it has helped me. Cheers, Holly

  • Suki Graves Aug 25, 2017

    The side effect of neck pain was severe for me. After two trials my neurologist and I stopped. If the protocol gets adjusted I may try again.

  • Chris Aug 25, 2017

    Mary, it varies from person to person. I could tell a difference within a week of my first treatment, and steadily improved during the first year. The shots “build” on each other. I still have migraines, but less frequently. Considering I was having 2-3 a week right before I began treatment, anything would have been an improvement.

    I was told that roughly 70% of people will have some improvement, but even out of those, they might only have a relatively slight reduction in frequency and severity. Not everyone responds, and even the positive response isn’t the same with people with similar symptoms, and doctors really don’t know why.

  • Holly Sep 5, 2017

    The injections definitely help me. It is not a cure, however. The injections themselves actually trigger my daily migraines for about two weeks, and I start getting the migraines back about two weeks before my next appointment. But for those two months between, I have less than half the number of migraines I usually experience. Yay.

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