Botox and Migraines – What Are The Risks?


Botox and its role in preventing migraines has been the subject of many studies and, following positive findings, was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in 2010 for the treatment of chronic migraines.

Botox is probably more commonly associated with being a way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Botox injections work by blocking chemical neurotransmitters that tell your muscles to contract and this is how it can diminish the appearance of wrinkles. Happily for migraine sufferers, Botox also blocks the release of these chemicals from reaching your nerve endings and causing pain.

Normally Botox is a well-tolerated preventative migraine treatment, and one which comes without the risk of a rebound headache – something which can come with many oral migraine medications. There are a few side effects which are still possible however, and it’s important to know what these are before making a decision about whether Botox injections are the right treatment for you.

Neck pain is the most common side effect of Botox. Though the term “most common” does not mean that it is something which many Botox users experience.

A 2014 study found that just 4.3% of study participants experienced neck pain, and that other side effects included drooping eyelids (1.9%), muscular weakness (1.6%), and pain at the injection site (2.1%). These symptoms, along with fatigue, dry mouth, bruising, chills, and redness or swelling at the injection site usually go away after a day or two though. If some minor side effects occur after Botox, this may not seem so bad when weighed against the fact that the positive effect of the Botox injections on reducing migraine frequency and intensity lasts for about three months.

As for potential longer-term side effects, these are eyebrows that seem to droop or be uneven, and muscle weakness. These effects also subside but they can take a few weeks to do so rather than a few days. When it comes to serious side effects, these are uncommon, but the symptoms to look out for that may point to there having been a serious complication are; blurry vision, a swelling of the tongue or throat, and difficulty speaking or swallowing.

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