Botox against migraines - expert interview
Botox against migraines - expert interview

Anyone who has ever had a migraine knows how grueling the symptoms can be. Small injections of Botox are said to provide relief. The expert explains how and why!

Botox for Migraines - Interview
Botox for Migraines - Interview

When they think of botox, most people immediately think of a remedy that helps against wrinkles. But botox, or more precisely the drug with the active ingredient botulinum toxin, can do much more than just smooth out wrinkles. It was first used in the medical field before it was discovered by chance that it also works small miracles in the cosmetic field. For some years now, botox has also been approved for treating migraines in Austria. Someone who knows about this is Dr. Najib Chichakli, specialist in plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery in Vienna. He explains what Botox is, how it can be used against migraines and what side effects there are.

WOMAN: What is botox anyway?

Dr. Chichakli: Botox is Allergan's trade name for botulinum toxin (Botox). It is a natural protein that is produced by special bacteria, e.g. Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin became known as a drug under the name Botox. In 1980, Botox was first used in neurology and ophthalmology to treat strabismus (strabismus). Then it was successfully used for a variety of other diseases, such as eyelid cramps, "swallowing cramps", torticollis or spasticity.

WOMAN: Most people still only know Botox as a remedy for wrinkles. How is it still used?

Dr. Chichakli: After the approval of Botox for the treatment of muscle diseases, the smoothing effect of Botox on the facial muscles was later discovered by chance. In 1992, Dr. A. Carruthers the effect of botox on facial wrinkles. Since then, the toxin has been used in the cosmetic field (off-label). In 2002, Botox was approved in the USA for the treatment of the glabellar frown lines. Treatment with botox is becoming more and more diverse and broad. Today Botox is also used for urge incontinence in urology and for anal fissures in surgery.

In the past few years, completely new, extremely effective areas of application for this medicinal product have opened up. Botox can also be used, for example, for excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Overproduction of sweat, especially on the palms of the hands and feet and under the armpits, can be perceived as very annoying and represent a psychological burden.

Botox can also reduce excessive sebum production and thus alleviate acne symptoms.

In the past few years, a positive effect of botox injections has been observed in migraine and tension pain patients.


»Botox can significantly alleviate the symptoms, but unfortunately the migraines won't go away completely. «

WOMAN: How can botox help with migraines?

Dr. Chichakli: Migraine is a very complex disease with many different symptoms, degrees of severity and forms. So far, the cause has not been fully clarified. One suspects a neurovascular disease in the brain. The genetic component plays a role here, as do many other factors such as stress, lack of sleep, hormones and diet. All of these factors can negatively affect the disease. Headaches are very common and can have a variety of causes. A thorough, mostly interdisciplinary clarification is important, e.g. B. by internists, ENT doctors, neurologists, orthopedists and ophthalmologists.

Nowadays, when serious causes are ruled out, headaches can be treated well with botox. Botox therapy can reduce the number and intensity of migraine attacks or end the migraine attacks as quickly as possible.

WOMAN: How is the treatment carried out?

Dr. Chichakli: Certain trigger points (exit points of nerves) on the forehead, temples, back of the head and neck are treated. Dr. Bahman Guyuron, a Clevland plastic surgeon, has seen migraine symptoms improve on his patients' faces after cosmetic botox treatments. It is believed that certain nerves in the face and head are compressed by the surrounding muscles in migraines. If you relax these muscles with Botox or reduce them with an operation, the migraine symptoms are significantly alleviated.


WOMAN: How many treatments does it take for the migraines to go away?

Dr. Chichakli: Botox can significantly alleviate the symptoms, but unfortunately the migraines will not go away completely. With regular botox treatment, every 4-6 months, however, there is a significant improvement in symptoms. The frequency, duration and intensity of the seizures and their accompanying symptoms, such as nausea and dizziness, are significantly reduced. You therefore need much less medication for migraines and thus you achieve fewer side effects and a significant improvement in quality of life.

WOMAN: How long does the effect of botox last?

Dr. Chichakli: With regular treatment 3-6 months. The intervals can become longer over time.

WOMAN: Is Botox Harmful?

Dr. Chichakli: Botox is one of the most studied drugs in medicine. So far, no systemic damage has been demonstrated at the recommended dose.

WOMAN: Can there be any side effects?

Dr. Chichakli: Most of the side effects are caused by the user, not the drug. This can lead to local changes such as temporary swellings, hematomas or headaches. That is why I recommend that this therapy only be carried out by certified specialists.

WOMAN: What does a botox treatment for migraines cost?

Dr. Chichakli: Every patient has different requirements. If you are interested in treatment, I invite my patients to my ordination for a personal interview in advance. In personal contact I can make an exact diagnosis and advise you professionally. If all regions (forehead, glabella, head and neck) have to be treated, it is usually between 800-900 euros.

Dr. med. univ. Najib Chichakli
Dr. med. univ. Najib Chichakli


Dr. med. univ. Najib Chichakli

Johannesgasse 12/5, 1010 Vienna

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