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FDA approves Botox for chronic migraines

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On October 15, 2010, the FDA approved Botox injection (onabotulinumtoxinA) to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine. Chronic migraine is defined as having a history of migraine headaches and experiencing a headache on 15 or more days in a month.

Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) used to treat chronic migraine is given every 12 weeks as multiple injections around the head and neck. Allergan Inc., the manufacturer of Botox, says that the treatment is administered by a physician or other qualified medical professional in a series of 31 injections in seven specific sites in the head and neck. This treatment is meant to dull future headache symptoms.

The most common side effects of Botox injections are neck pain and headache. Also, the FDA has placed a “boxed warning” on Botox injection which says the effects of the botulinum toxin may spread from the injection site to other areas of the body causing symptoms similar to botulism. These symptoms may include difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing which can be life-threatening.

The FDA has not had any reports of serious toxin spread in any of the approved uses for Botox injection.

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