The effects of Botox on migraines
This is a question that comes up frequently in our inboxes, and we’re glad to be able to provide you with some answers. We’ve spoken with Dr. Mary, a neurologist specializing in chronic migraine care and treatment, and she was kind enough to shed some light on the subject for us. Here’s what you need to know about the cost of Botox for migraines.
What is Botox? And how does it work for migraines?
Let’s start with some important information about Botox itself. What is it? This substance is made from small amounts of a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum (hence the name). In large quantities, this bacteria can cause botulism—a rare but very serious condition involving paralysis. However, when injected into the body in small doses via a qualified medical professional, the bacteria can actually have beneficial effects. It effectively blocks signals from nerves to muscles, stopping them from contracting. There are several different types of Botox available today: cosmetic, therapeutic, and prophylactic (preventative). The type used to treat migraines falls under the prophylactic category.
You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on Cost of botox for migraines, how to get botox covered by insurance. Read on to learn more. We at collegelearners have all the information that you need about how to get botox for migraines covered by insurance. Read on to learn more.
Cost of botox for migraines
If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know that it’s more than just a headache. The throbbing head pain can be associated with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. For many people, migraine symptoms are so severe that they can interfere with normal life.
Fortunately there are different treatments for migraines, and one that you may have heard about is Botox. Here we’ll talk about how Botox works for migraines and if it’s a good treatment option for you.
How do Botox injections help treat migraines?
Botox contains a toxin known as onabotulinumtoxinA that is naturally produced by the bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which is found in soil. It’s a neurotoxin, which means it blocks the nerve activity in muscles and temporarily paralyzes them. If the toxin is consumed in contaminated food, it can cause paralysis and death. Although onabotulinumtoxinA is probably the most well-known toxin from this bacteria, there are several others that are commercially available (such as abobotulinumtoxinA in Dysport).
When used correctly and in small amounts, Botox can be used very safely to treat many different conditions. Most people know that it’s used to treat and prevent wrinkles, but Botox is also used to treat:
- Chronic migraines
- Overactive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Crossed eyes (strabismus)
- Prolonged eye twitching (blepharospasm)
- Stiffness and/or spasms (spasticity) in the arms or legs
- Abnormal neck contraction (cervical dystonia)
While we don’t know exactly how Botox works to prevent migraines, it may help block some of the pain signals in the nerves that cause migraines.
When should I consider Botox for my migraines?
About 1% to 2% of people have chronic migraines, which means they get migraine-like headaches 15 or more days every month for at least 3 months. Medications for chronic migraines include treatments to help symptoms once a migraine has started and treatments to help prevent migraines from happening.
Common treatments for acute migraines (ones that have already started) include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen
- Analgesics (pain medications like opioids)
Preventative treatments are used to help lower the number and severity of migraine attacks. Examples include:
- Valproate and topiramate (medications often used to treat seizures)
- Metoprolol and timolol (medications often used to treat high blood pressure)
Botox is an FDA-approved treatment to help prevent migraines and to lower the number and severity of migraine attacks. Some studies have shown that it works better than some of the other preventative treatments commonly used.
For people who have tried other migraine treatments without success, or who have had side effects from those treatments, Botox may be a good option.
What are Botox treatments like?
Unlike other migraine treatments, Botox is given as a series of small injections directly into the muscle.
In a single treatment session, between 31 and 39 shots are given throughout seven different parts of the forehead, head (side and back), and neck (upper and lower). Each treatment cycle can last about 10 to 20 minutes. It’s important that the correct sites are treated, or else the treatment may not be as effective.
It’s recommended that a treatment cycle be given every 3 months in order to help control migraine attacks. How long you continue getting them will depend on how you respond to treatment. While many people improve with just one treatment cycle, some may require more. Most people seem to need fewer than three treatment cycles, but each person is different. Your doctor will work with you to see how long you should continue getting treatments and may recommend that you keep taking other medications until you see an improvement.
What are common side effects of Botox?
There are very few side effects associated with Botox treatments. The needle used is very small — while some people may feel a small pinch with the injection, many don’t feel anything.
Other side effects can include some neck pain and muscle weakness where the medication was injected. Using ice packs can help reduce this pain if it happens. Rarely, people can experience eyelid drooping or muscle weakness in areas further away from the injection site.
Studies have shown that up to five treatment cycles of Botox is safe and effective for chronic migraines.
How much does Botox for migraines cost?
The cost of Botox treatments can vary somewhat, so it’s important to ask your healthcare provider upfront what you will be charged.
In general, each treatment session will use a total of about 155 units of Botox, and that can cost anywhere between $300 to $600, or even more. Because these treatments can be expensive, you should search for coupons or savings plans that are available to help lower the cost. For example, the manufacturer of Botox, Allergan, offers a savings card and a patient assistance program to help reduce costs or even make it free for patients.
Will my insurance cover Botox injections for migraines?
Since Botox is an approved treatment for chronic migraines, many insurance companies will cover some — or all — of the costs. This includes both Medicare and Medicaid plans. It’s important to keep in mind that insurance companies will usually only cover Botox treatments if you have tried — and failed — two other treatments for your migraines. To verify this, they may ask that you work with your healthcare provider to submit a prior authorization form.
Like with any prescription medication, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider and insurance company to see what cost is covered and what you will be expected to pay out of pocket.