I’ve partnered with Allergan to tell you about my experience with Chronic Migraine with the hope that it will help you understand the disease and why it’s important to stay informed about appropriate treatment options. For more than twenty years, I’ve suffered from Chronic Migraine. It hasn’t been a common topic on my blog as I’ve focused more on positive discussions here, but this disease is a real part of my life.
What is Chronic Migraine?
Chronic Migraine is a disease that only doctors can diagnose. It is not just a migraine here or there and there is a difference between a migraine and a headache. People with Chronic Migraine experience 15 or more headache days a month, 8 of which are associated with migraine. A “headache day” is a day that you are affected by headache for at least 4 hours.
I used to average 20 headache and migraine days per month. My migraines come in different forms and are completely unpredictable. I’ve tracked them with the help of doctors for years and unfortunately we can’t find a cause.
I would have a migraine with aura on Monday (dealing with sensitivity to light), a migraine on Tuesday all day, as well as other side effects of a migraine on Wednesday (such as tiredness or grogginess) along with my headache pain. Not every day with a headache or migraine was associated with unbearable pain. When I started to count my headache days more accurately under my doctor’s guidance, I was able to receive my Chronic Migraine diagnosis and begin treatment. I talk more about my experience with Chronic Migraine in this post.
There are many different types of migraine auras and migraine side effects. Everyone’s experience is different, so it’s important to talk with a doctor if you think you, or someone you love, might suffer from them.
What is it like living with Chronic Migraine?
Though only a doctor can diagnose a Chronic Migraine, I can tell you that when I experience headaches and migraines, it’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Mine usually begin with a smell–my husband actually pointed out that I often pull the kitchen apart looking for smells that I think are coming from the fridge or the garbage. The best way I can describe migraines is that they feel like a brain freeze or ice cream headache–the ones that you get when you eat ice cream too fast. Except instead of a minute or two, this lasts for days.
It’s difficult for me to focus or concentrate, and the pain ebbs and flows throughout the day. I might feel well enough to get up and make breakfast for my family, but then I may miss making dinner because the pain becomes worse again.
It’s been difficult raising a family while living with Chronic Migraine. I know I’ve missed parts of my sons’ lives because I was not fully present or in bed trying to feel better. I’ve learned that trying to fight through and ignore a migraine is not the best way to manage it. Now, as soon as I feel one coming on, I know to go lie down and focus on getting past it as quickly as possible.
I saw a neurologist who diagnosed me with migraine 23 years ago and another neurologist who diagnosed me with Chronic Migraine about ten years ago. A doctor can help diagnose what you’re experiencing. Click here to find a physician in your area: https://www.botoxchronicmigraine.com/find-botox-specialist
How does BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA) help?
BOTOX® is the first FDA-approved preventive treatment for Chronic Migraine. Since I began receiving BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA), the treatment has significantly helped me in reducing my headache and migraine days. The treatment helps prevent headaches and migraines before they start. BOTOX® prevents on average 8 to 9 headache days and migraine/probable migraine days a month (versus 6 to 7 for placebo). The procedure takes about 15 minutes, in which a doctor injects BOTOX® in specific areas on the neck and head. Personally, I receive BOTOX® injections every three months, and it helps me manage my Chronic Migraine.
How long does it take to see results after receiving BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine?
I’ve started to notice results four weeks after my initial treatment. It took me two 12-week cycles of BOTOX® to notice a significant reduction in the frequency of my headache days. I have been receiving injections every three months.
You can also visit www.BotoxChronicMigraine.com for more information about Chronic Migraine and BOTOX®.
BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA) Important Safety Information
BOTOX® is a prescription medicine that is injected to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine who have 15 or more days 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 (episodic migraine).
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 (hours to 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), or Xeomin® (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.