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Botox for Migraines

There is now hope for the three million Americans who suffer from chronic migraines, which often leave them incapacitated for hours and sometimes days at a time. Migraine is considered a chronic illness when it occurs more than 15 days per month. The repercussions can be devastating, according to Cape Cod Hospital Neurologist Karen Lynch, MD. Severe cases can lead to job loss, divorce, depression and other issues, she said.

There is no cure and no specific remedy for migraines, aside from over the counter medications, various seizure medications and stronger pain medications, including opiates. But now Botox has emerged as the surprising treatment for those who suffer from the crippling condition, according to Dr. Lynch, who is trained in the treatment. In 2010, the federal Food and Drug Administration approved Botox to treat migraines with results Dr. Lynch calls “groundbreaking.”

Migraine patients who meet the criteria for chronic sufferers receive shots every 12 weeks in a fixed dose to seven different areas of the head and neck. When used as treatment for chronic migraines, Botox is covered by insurance.

Studies show that after two months, patients have eight fewer headaches, said Dr. Lynch. After 12 months, 70 percent of patients who received Botox had reduced their headaches in half. Studies have also shown it is most effective for patients who have periodic migraines more than 15 days a month.

Botox as a migraine treatment can have side effects, including neck pain, eye droop, or facial weakness. However, because such a small dose is used for the treatment, the side effects tend to be much less severe, according to Dr. Lynch.

The greatest improvement for migraine sufferers using Botox shows up after the second cycle of treatment, said Dr. Lynch. Chronic migraine sufferers who think they may be a candidate for Botox should diagnosed by a neurologist, and the injection treatment should be done by a specialist trained in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic migraines, she said.

For more information, contact Neurologists of Cape Cod at 774-470-2460, or visit their webpage.

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