A few years ago, doctors found a medication that they thought might become the new magic bullet for migraine sufferers: Botox. In 2010, the drug earned FDA approval to treat migraines and chronic headaches, but a new review of studies shows that it may not offer as much relief as hoped.  


Researchers made the connection between Botox (onabotulinumtoxin A) and migraines when doctors noted that their patients reported having fewer headaches after receiving Botox injections to treat wrinkles. A few initial studies showed promising results, thus earning the drug FDA approval to treat headaches.  


Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin reported this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association on their recent review of 31 trials evaluating Botox’s effectiveness in minimizing the quantity and intensity of migraines and chronic tension headache symptoms for sufferers. The research showed that when compared to a placebo, Botox caused a slight decrease in the number of migraine headaches per month, but patients who suffered from chronic tension headaches saw no discernible difference when using Botox or a placebo. In studies that compared Botox to other headache treatments, there was no statistically significant difference in the number of headaches patients reported each month.


Most chronic migraine sufferers, defined as those who suffer 15 or more migraines per month, who used Botox experienced an average decrease in episodes of just two to three fewer headaches each month. Sufferers of tension headaches, however, saw no significant decline.


Still, ask any migraine sufferer what they would prefer and I'm sure they would tell you that they'll gladly take anything that reduces their headaches — even if it's only by two or three a month.  


Do you suffer from migraines or chronic headaches? Would you try Botox as a headache treatment?

Botox not much help for migraines
A review of studies finds that the injections typically used to treat wrinkles offer limited relief for chronic migraine and headache sufferers.