Got Migraines? Botox Might Help

February 25, 2011 at 10:33 am , by

I’ve never had a migraine before, but I know plenty of women who get them regularly. And they’re just awful, aren’t they? Skull-crushing pain and nausea that’s aggravated by light and noise—I definitely owe someone, somewhere, a thank-you card for sparing me that. Sadly, I really am pretty lucky: 20 percent of all women, and 40 percent of women by age 40, suffer from migraines. What’s more, many women experience chronic migraines, which means that they get a migraine at least 15 days out of the month.

That’s where the famous wrinkle-reliever Botox comes in, says Peter McAllister, M.D., a Yale University neurologist and headache specialist. The FDA recently approved Botox for treating chronic migraines, an announcement we briefly covered in our March issue. We met with Dr. McAllister yesterday to learn more about it.

“It was really an accidental discovery,” he says. When women who got Botox for their frown lines reported headache relief as well, Allergan, the company that manufactures Botox, created two double-blind, placebo-controlled trials to test Botox as a preventive treatment for chronic migraines. While both the placebo patients and the Botox patients had fewer “headache days,” as they call them, the Botox patients had significantly better results. Now with FDA approval of Botox for chronic migraines, it’s likely that your insurance will cover it.

So how does it work? Well, it’s still unclear (it turns out experts aren’t even sure exactly how migraines work). “We know the migraine process is internal, but the nerves affected are actually outside near the skin,” says Dr. McAllister. And the theory is that the Botox may block the pain signals to the brain, which decreases the frequency of your migraines. “It doesn’t work for everybody,” he says, “but if you respond to it, the effects can last up to three months.”

If you’ve been really suffering and want to learn more about this, Dr. McAllister recommends seeing a neurologist who can look at your overall health and lifestyle to help you identify your triggers and prescribe medications that can work in tandem with the Botox. Migraines can be triggered by hormones, alcohol, caffeine, certain foods and stress, among other things.

And I know you’re wondering. No, Botox for your chronic migraines probably won’t help your wrinkles—it’s a higher dose and injected in different locations. In the trials, it didn’t seem to have a positive or negative cosmetic impact, said Dr. McAllister. Too bad you can’t look younger and feel better at the same time!

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The Botox Diaries

September 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm , by

Check out this video of LHJ Photo Director Clare Lissaman, who got the celebrity treatment from dermatologist to the stars, Dr. Fredric Brandt. Clare was such a good sport and let us film the before (and during!) for the whole word to see. (Yes, there is a needle if you’re squeamish about such things, but it’s just shown for a second, we promise!) Check out Clare’s fun and funny first-time reaction to getting Botox.

Do Good With Botox

June 3, 2010 at 9:36 am , by

We all know a simple act of kindness can go a long way—so what if I told you $25 would be donated to charity on your behalf, just by filling out a no-strings-attached profile online? It’s really that easy! That was just the thought behind Allegan’s BOTOX® Cosmetic My Expressions of Kindness campaign.

Share your act of kindness (by filling out that simple profile) and $25 automatically goes towards the $250,000 total that will help support the causes of three outstanding organizations. Tweet or Facebook the campaign (the site tells you how) and an additional $5 is donated, for a total of $30.

Didiayer Snyder from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition shows off her before and after!

I happen to be a fan of Botox treatments (I get just a little above my eyebrows to prevent the pesky vertical lines that look like an “11”).  I realize that admitting I use Botox will not garner the attention Cindy Crawford did when she was so forthcoming—but like her,

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