Now, treat chronic migraine with Botox

Chronic migraine can leave sufferers in pain for at least half of every month. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks migraine as the 19th most disabling disease and notes that a day lived with severe migraine can be more disabling than blindness, paraplegia, angina or rheumatoid arthritis. Although these debilitating headaches occur in both men and women, women are believed to be three times more likely than men to suffer from migraines.

Patients of migraine often experience anxiety and depression along with the headaches. Stress, dietary, sleeping and other inappropriate lifestyle habits are known to influence the state of chronic migraine sufferers. Now studies and clinical trials have revealed that when injected in labelled doses and in the recommended locations in the head and neck, Botox is expected to produce results lasting up to three months depending on the individual patient.
"Since using Botox for chronic migraines is a relatively new treatment on the block, many people are still not aware of it and most do not understand it well, but the response that I have received from my patients has been very good. This will surely pick up in years to come," Sumit Singh, senior consultant, headache & movement disorder, Medanta - The Medicity, Gurgaon, told IANS on the phone.

"Botox treatment is just evolving in our country. At this moment, there is not enough data on the number of patients being treated with it for their condition. However, it surely seems to be catching up and is well-received by our patients. The treatment will become popular in coming years," echoed Rajashekar Reddi, senior consultant neurologist, Max Hospitals, New Delhi.

For the treatment of chronic migraine, measured doses of Botox are injected at 29-32 sites in a patient. These sites include six-seven on the forehead, eight on the temples and six each on the back of the head, the neck and the shoulders. It takes 10-15 minutes to administer the dosage. Besides, two additional sites - the temples or the back of the head on each side - can also be injected, depending upon whether extreme pain is felt by the patient at these sites.

Although there aren't any major side effects of the treatment, patients may feel slight pain around the injected areas.

"When the drug is injected by an expert, the chances of any side-effects are negligible. Usually, there occurs slight pain and bruising at the site of injection," said Charulata Sankhla, senior consultant, neurology, Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai.

"There are mild and transient side-effects such as drooping of eyelids that is observed when the wrong or an overenthusiastic dose of Botox is administered to the patient," added Reddi.

Although the treatment lasts for up to three months, it doesn't come very cheap. Including the procedural fee and the drug costs, the price of this treatment is about Rs.25,000.

The treatment is already making its mark in big cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata but is yet to find a following in the smaller ones.

"It is available in all the bigger medical centres/hospitals in major cities, including the metros. Patients in Tier-2 cities are yet to be sensitised about this treatment as it is not available there," revealed Reddi.

The treatment is suitable for chronic migraine sufferers in the 18-80 years age group.

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