Discover the Medical Benefits of Botox
Do you suffer from migraines or blepharospasms? You may be surprised to hear that Botox provides medical benefits to treat your symptoms.
The FDA has approved Botox for migraine and blepharospasm treatments where Dr. Thom is proud to now offer at his practice in Fargo, ND. For years, this treatment has been proven successful for a vast number of patients searching for relief. While many people associate Botox to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, the medical benefits are not to be overlooked.
We invite you to contact our practice today to discuss your symptoms and see if Botox treatments are right for you.
What is Botox?
Botox is a brand of botulinum toxin. There are other brands, but these have not been proved helpful in any form of migraine or blepharospasms. Some people use the word to mean any form of botulinum toxin but this can lead to misunderstanding – just as not all vacuum cleaners are Hoovers.
The toxin comes from a germ (a bacterium) called Clostridium botulinum. The way it is taken from the germ and prepared for clinical use varies between the different manufacturers, so different brands of botulinum toxin may work differently, and should not be interchangeable.
Botox is licensed for the treatment of people with chronic migraines. Chronic migraines are defined as 3 months of at least 15 days of a headache a month, of which at least 8 days have migrainous features, such as nausea, noise or light sensitivity, or pulsating pain.
Botox has been used for 25+ years as a treatment option for blepharospasms since FDA approval in 1989. Botox is approved to help relieve the eyelid muscle spasms associated with blepharospasm.
I thought Botox was a treatment for wrinkles?
Botulinum toxin gets into nerve endings and stops the nerve from being able to respond normally to an electrical nerve impulse. Whatever that nerve normally does, stops working. So when facial expression muscles are injected, facial wrinkles are reduced.
It was noticed by chance, many years ago, that people having cosmetic botulinum toxin had fewer headaches. Recently this was proven to work for chronic migraine; it is also used to treat other illnesses including blepharospasm, dystonia, cerebral palsy, and stroke.
How does it treat a Migraine?
It is thought that botulinum toxin gets into the small nerves that carry pain from the head to the brain, known as C-fibres. This reduces the number of chemicals released from the nerve ending and therefore interrupts the feedback pathway that perpetuates a migraine and headache.
How are Botox® injections performed?
Dr. Thom handles all Botox® injections. That’s because, as an ophthalmologist, he has an intricate understanding of facial anatomy and the location of the muscles and nerve fibers that need to relax to overcome blepharospasm and migraine headaches.
Dr. Thom injects Botox® with a very tiny needle, and it is not injected to great depth. For blepharospasm patients, he uses 10 injection locations around the eyes, eyelids, and in the eyebrow area. For chronic migraines, there are typically 31 injections made in seven key areas of the head and neck. The target is the nerve fibers involved in these headaches. By blocking the nerve messages (just as Botox® does with muscles and their nerve messengers) sent to the brain, this prevents activation of pain networks in the brain that is behind a migraine headache.
Is Botox® safe?
Botox® is made from the botulinum toxin type A, the same bacteria that cause botulism. That sounds scary, but it’s not really. Back in the late 40s scientists studied the botulinum toxin and found that when injected in minuscule amounts into a muscle the botulinum toxin temporarily prevented the muscle from contracting.
Botox® was a direct result of that research.
Since that time, the FDA has approved Botox® injections for an increasingly diverse set of uses. The first approval was for blepharospasm in 1989. Botox® is now approved for 11 therapeutic indications, including chronic migraine, blepharospasm, strabismus, overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, cervical dystonia, spasticity, and severe underarm sweating. You may have heard of Botox® for its cosmetic use erasing wrinkles — and that indeed is where the product became well known around the world — but its wide variety of uses is quite impressive across medicine.
For each of those FDA approvals, Botox® had to be proven to be safe and effective. Botox ® is one of the most heavily studied products on the planet. It has proven to be safe and very effective.
How often do you receive Botox® injections for migraine headaches?
For migraine headaches, it takes a little time for Botox® to take effect. It works by preventing migraines before they start. It takes two or three Botox® injection sessions to work for most patients. Each Botox® treatment lasts between 10 and 12 weeks. Research has shown that two Botox® treatments reduced the number of headaches days by approximately 50 percent.
Why should I choose Botox® for my migraine headache treatment?
As mentioned above, Botox® has proven in clinical studies to be effective for people with chronic migraine, meaning they suffer from 15 or more headaches days a month, each lasting 4 or more hours. Botox® is not approved for patients who have fewer than 14 headache days each month.
Botox is considered to be a preventive treatment for chronic migraines, working to prevent headaches and migraines before they even start. That’s why Botox® is the most-prescribed branded treatment for chronic migraines. To date, 3.3 million Botox treatments have been given to over half a million people with chronic migraines.
Through 10 years of approved use, Botox® has shown to prevent eight to nine headache/migraine probable days each month.
Where is Botox® injected for blepharospasm?
Dr. Thom injects Botox® in 10 sites when seeking to calm blepharospasm, five in the areas around each eye. Two locations are on the inner and outer areas of the eyebrows. Two more injections are made under each of the upper eyelids. The final injections for each eye are made just off the margin of the lower eyelid. There can be some variation in these locations, due to the unique needs of different patients.
How long does Botox® stop blepharospasm?
It takes about three days for Botox® to fully relax the injected muscles that cause the involuntary spasms of blepharoplasty. From that point, spasms should be calmed for up to three months. Once the muscles begin to contract again, another Botox session with Dr. Thom will keep blepharospasm under control.
Will Botox used to treat blepharospasm affect my eyes?
Because Botox® can cause the patient’s eyelids to blink less frequently, the more typical adverse reactions are due to the cornea being exposed to air more than usual. This can cause corneal abrasions, eye dryness, and local swelling of the eyelid. A droopy eyelid is another possible side effect. Beyond corneal abrasions, other rarer side effects are double vision, inflammation of the cornea, blurred vision, and decreased eyesight.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you’re interested in learning more about botox please contact us for a consultation at (701) 235-5200 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.