My Experience With Migraines

August 7, 2019

One of the most popular posts I’ve ever written was about my struggle with migraines. They’ve been around since my 20s and learning how to manage them has become an ongoing part of my life. Although I occasionally get 2-3 headache and migraine days per month, it’s astounding to know that 3.3M Americans experience 15 or more headache days a month, 8 of which are associated with migraine (defined as Chronic Migraine).

When I do have migraines, I experience severe pain in my head, sensitivity to light, fatigue, and dizziness/nausea. I have missed countless dinner parties, events, and even my own birthday one year! Those are the days you wish you could take back in a heartbeat, sans migraine. Migraine is a fun police. That’s why discussing this topic feels important, because if any of you are suffering or have a friend who is, it’s comforting to hear you’re not alone. For years I left the topic untouched in this space, as it was such a negative in my life and I didn’t want to shed light on it. However, when I finally did bring it up, I was blown away by how many of you responded with the same struggle.

People may deal with migraines at different frequencies, but those with Chronic Migraine experience over 15 headache days a month—think about it, that’s half your month or more! So if this sounds like you, you may want to talk to your doctor, because you’re definitely not alone.

Enter BOTOX®  (onabotulinumtoxinA) treatment. Those who are medically diagnosed with Chronic Migraine are eligible candidates for BOTOX®, which is an effective treatment option. Though I have not been diagnosed with Chronic Migraine and am not currently being treated with BOTOX®, those living with Chronic Migraine should talk to their doctor and consider this treatment option to prevent headaches and migraines before they start.

Here’s how it works.

Based on information that I’ve researched, a doctor will inject BOTOX® in distinct sites in the head and neck with an exact amount for the procedure. The procedure takes about 15 minutes. To begin, there would be two treatments (12 weeks apart) and from that point on, your doctor will make a treatment plan based on your progress. BOTOX® prevents on average 8 to 9 headache days and migraine/probable migraine days a month (vs 6 to 7 for placebo). Results can be seen as early as 4 weeks, with full results at 24 weeks.

BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine must be prescribed by your doctor. Please refer to the BOTOX® Prescribing Information and Important Safety Information for more information. 

You can also visit www.BotoxChronicMigraine.com for more information about Chronic Migraine and BOTOX®.

BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA) Important Safety Information

Indication

BOTOX® is a prescription medicine that is injected to prevent headaches in adults with Chronic Migraine who have 15 or moredays each month with headache lasting 4 or more hours each day in people 18 years or older.

It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe or effective to prevent headaches in patients with migraine who have 14 or fewer headache days each month (episodicmigraine).

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

BOTOX® may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Get medical help right away if you have any of these problems any time (hoursto weeks) after injection of BOTOX®:

• Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing, due to weakening of associated muscles, can be severe and result in loss of life. You are at highest risk if these problems are pre-existing before injection. Swallowing problems may last for several months.
• Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.

There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine.

BOTOX® may cause loss of strength or general muscle weakness, vision problems, or dizziness within hours to weeks of taking BOTOX®. If this happens, do not drive a car, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities.

Do not receive BOTOX® if you: are allergic to any of its ingredients (see Medication Guide for ingredients); had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product such as Myobloc® (rimabotulinumtoxinB), Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA), orXeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA); have a skin infection at the planned injection site.

The dose of BOTOX® is not the same as, or comparable to, another botulinum toxin product.

Serious and/or immediate allergic reactions have been reported, including itching, rash, red itchy welts, wheezing, asthma symptoms, or dizziness or feeling faint. Get medical help right away if you experience symptoms; further injection of BOTOX® should be discontinued.

Tell your doctor about all your muscle or nerve conditions such as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, myasthenia gravis, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome, as you may be at increased risk of serious side effects including difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing from typical doses of BOTOX®.

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you: have or have had bleeding problems; have plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; weakness of forehead muscles; trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® passes into breast milk).

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Using BOTOX® with certain medicines may cause serious side effects. Do not start any new medicines until you have told your doctor that you received BOTOX® in the past.

Tell your doctor if you received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin®in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic injection; take muscle relaxants; take allergy or

cold medicines; take sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.

Other side effects of BOTOX® include:dry mouth, discomfort or pain at injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight, drooping eyelids, swelling of eyelids, dry eyes; and drooping eyebrows.

For more information refer to the Medication Guide or talk with your doctor. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the

FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see BOTOX®full Product Information including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide.

This post is supported by BOTOX®, all opinions are my own // Photography by Arna.

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