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Botulinum Toxin for Migraine

This proven treatment for Chronic Migraine was recently launched in Autumn 2010. It is intended for use in a very specific group of patients, namely those who have had a diagnosis of Migraine made by a Neurologist (ie it has been fully investigated). Headache is a very common symptom; most headaches are not treatable using botulinum toxin. Chronic migraine patients will suffer headache on 15 days out of every month, of which at least 8 days will be migrainous headache.

What does the treatment involve?

The treatment is similar to fine line treatments in fact – some of the injection points are almost identical! However, most of the botulinum toxin is injected into the scalp or neck muscles. The quantity of toxin is much too small to cause any weakness of these large muscles. However, a larger amount of botulinum toxin is required to do this type of treatment compared with treating fine lines for example.

How does it work?

The mode of action is not clearly understood in this treatment, in fact the physiology underlying migraine is poorly understood, and research is ongoing in this field.  However clinical trials confirm that this treatment is effective.

Does it work for tension headache?

Some people notice an improvement in their tension-type headaches with standard botulinum toxin treatment, but there is no research evidence to show that this is a reliable effect, so it cannot be considered as a treatment for tension headache.