Injection therapy and migraines

Questions from the clinic: ‘I’ve heard about injection therapy for migraines, and I’d like to ask you some questions about it’

 Please note as per TGA guidelines we are not permitted to mention the name of the product discussed in this blog entry

Part 1

Q  Should I consider injection therapy for my frequent migraines?

A  Yes, if you are over 18 years of age, not pregnant, breastfeeding or planning for a pregnancy in the next 3 months, and suffer from chronic migraine. You should also consider the therapy if at least 3 preventative medications provided from your doctor have resulted in limiting side effects or have been unable to provide you with significant benefit.
Chronic migraine is a disabling problem for 2% of the population, having an adverse impact upon an individuals quality of life, as well as their families. Injection therapy is the first approved intervention found to result in a significant improvement in this disorder.

Q How does a migraine specialist know that I am suffering from chronic migraine?

A migraine specialist will be assessing you for the diagnosis of migraine, and then for the frequency of headache and migraine events to determine if a diagnosis of chronic migraine can be made. A migraine headache is diagnosed when characteristic features are associated with your headaches, that being light and noise sensitivity, nausea, as well as pain that is moderate to severe in intensity.

Q What is the active ingredient in injection therapy?

The active ingredient is an injectable protein produced by a bacterium (Clostridium botulinum) that paralyzes muscles into which is in injected.

Q  Are the injections the same for every patient?

Yes, and the precise location and quantity of each injection has been tested extensively for safety and effectiveness in a wide variety of disorders.

Q What are the possible side effects?

Injection therapy is generally well tolerated. A brief, stinging sensation can be produced at each injection site. In a small percentage of patients, (3-9%), neck pain, headaches, heaviness of the brow and or eyelids can be experienced, however these are all temporary should they occur.

Q How does injection therapy work for migraines?

Injection therapy is believed to work for migraine by blocking pain signaling transmission between the head and neck and the central brain where migraine is generated.

Q Will injection therapy cure my migraines?

A  No, injection therapy is not a cure for migraines, it does however represent an effective preventative intervention in many migraine patients. When it works for chronic migraine, the results can be dramatic, not just in reducing headache days but with significant improvement in headache related quality of life assessments

Note: Information on this site is not substitute for professional medical advice.

References:

Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 2014, American Headache Society, Tepper MD