Looks like the FDA is about to give us one more reason to get Botox shots. The anti-wrinkle vanity shots may help cure you of your headaches too. Dr Alexander Mauskop, Director and Founder of the NY Headache Center and creator of the headache drug Migralex has been using Botox on his patients to treat headaches for the last 15 years. Mauskop told FYI Living that 70% of headache patients he treats with Botox find relief. Though doctors, like Mauskop, have been using Botox off-label for some time to reduce the occurrence of headaches, the practice is not officially approved by the FDA. However, it looks like the FDA is going to give it the green light in the near future.
Patients using Botox to reduce facial wrinkles started reporting that they were experiencing less headaches. This prompted various scientific studies to determine if, indeed, Botox might be the next headache cure. Many of these tests proved that Botox lessens the severity, duration, and frequency of migraines.
Discovered in the 1800’s, botulism is a type of rare food poisoning which occurs when people consume foods that have the botulism toxin. The food borne illness can cause paralysis. The neurotoxin derived from botulinum bacteria is the Botox. The drug works by blocking signals in the nerves which causes muscles paralysis. Beyond freezing the facial muscles which cause wrinkles, Botox has been approved for other medical problems as well. Botox is currently FDA approved to treat a variety of illnesses already for example eye twitching, severe sweating, helping cross-eyes, and neck spasms.
In a 2005 study, researchers tested 571 patients in a double-blind, placebo controlled study using Botox to treat daily headaches. Though there was very little statistical difference in headache reduction after 30 days, after 180 days of treatment those treated with Botox saw their headache frequency cut in half. Furthermore there have been two other significant studies published in 2009 which prove that Botox can be used to treat chronic migraines.
The pricey shots are not covered by most insurance policies to cure wrinkles, because cosmetic procedures are not covered by most insurance companies. This means patients typically pay out-of-pocket, and the treatment only lasts a few months. However, if Botox does get approved by the FDA to treat headaches, when used as such it would not be considered a cosmetic procedure. Before your forehead wrinkles get too excited, the use of Botox to treat headaches is not always on the cosmetic areas of your face. It can include shots on the top of the head as well as the back of a patients neck. In any event, we’re pretty sure there will may be a lot more middle-aged people complaining of migraine headaches soon.
Doctor, I looked in the mirror the other day and I felt a migraine in the middle of my forehead wrinkle…