The Consumer’s Guide to Botulinum Toxin for Chronic Migraine

Everything you need to know about how these injections can treat migraine and whether they’re right for you.

Medically Reviewed

A migraine is more than a headache: Migraine is a neurological disease characterized by severe head pain (often on one side) and symptoms such as nausea or vomiting and sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells.

If you experience a headache at least 15 days out of the month — with at least eight of those days meeting the criteria for migraine — for more than 3 months, your doctor may diagnose you with chronic migraine, which impacts around 3 to 5 percent of the U.S. population.

One treatment you may have never considered is botulinum toxin — specifically, onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox). That’s right: The same substance that’s used to smooth fine lines and wrinkles can also treat chronic migraine. Here’s everything you need to know, including how it works and whether the injections may be right for you.

How Botox Works to Treat Chronic Migraine

5 Essential Facts About Botox for Chronic Migraine

Here’s a primer on what you need to know about botulinum toxin as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine.

5 FAQs About Botox for Chronic Migraine, Answered

Wondering if Botox injections are right for you? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about this treatment for chronic migraine.

Who Is a Candidate for Botox?

Botox can be a good choice for people who have been diagnosed with chronic migraine, meaning you get a headache at least 15 days out of the month — with at least eight of those days meeting the criteria for migraine — for more than 3 months. That said, it may not be right for everyone. Here are a few things to consider.

Next Steps: Making Migraine Treatment Decisions

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You’ve learned a lot about Botox for the treatment of chronic migraine, but how do you decide whether you should try it?
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Self-Reflection

Before your next doctor’s appointment, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Are my current migraine medications working??
  2. Have my symptoms improved or gotten worse since my last doctor’s appointment?
  3. Is chronic migraine interfering with my quality of life??
  4. Am I willing to get shots if it means migraine relief??
  5. Do I trust my doctor to perform the procedure??
  6. Does my insurance cover Botox injections?
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Doctor Discussion

Keep these questions on hand to ask at your next doctor’s appointment.

  1. Am I a good candidate for Botox?
  2. Are there any other medications I should try before getting Botox for my chronic migraine?
  3. Is there anything else I can do to ease my symptoms?
  4. If I try Botox injections, how quickly will I experience relief??
  5. How long will the relief last??
  6. Are there any medications or supplements that can interfere with this treatment??
  7. What happens if the injections don’t work for me?