Botox, which is well known as a wrinkle treatment, has recently been FDA approved as a treatment for chronic migraine headaches. A recent Wall Street Journal article reviewed the scientific data as well as which patients might be helped by this treatment. Read more..
You may wonder if one treatment with Botox can help both wrinkles and migraines. The answer is both yes and no. For patients that experience migraines with a focus of muscle tension in the forehead , around the eyes or between the eyebrows ( the usual treatment targets for anti-wrinkle Botox) Botox injections will relax the muscles in those areas. Anecdotally, I have several patients, who report the secondary benefit of fewer migraine or tension headaches for 3-4 months after Botox injections for wrinkles.
On the other hand, the Botox treatment protocols for wrinkle reduction and migraine headaches differ in both the quantity of Botox injected and the sites of injection. The recommended Botox treatment for chronic migraine headaches (15 days/month) involves 31 injections in 7 sites on the head, neck and shoulders. The wrinkle treatment with Botox involves 5 or 6 injections in one facial area such as the forehead or eyes. Those suffering from severe, chronic migraines should be treated by a neurologist with special expertise in treating migraines with Botox. Treatment costs $1000-$1500/session, but may be covered by insurance. Patients with less severe migraines, who are using Botox for cosmetic indications, may have headache reduction but the scientific evidence is not yet available to support Botox use for this group. For now, patients need to pick their Botox target-wrinkles or headaches.