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Botox is now a treatment option for Canadians who experience chronic migraines

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Reflections for Botox injections.
Reflections for Botox injections.

Many already know about the wrinkle-smoothing effects that Botox injections can provide, and some are still discovering that the procedure can help alleviate chronic migraine headaches, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Botox as a treatment for the condition last year. Now, people in Canada can reap the benefits of these injections to reduce the severity of painful, persistent headaches.

Health Canada recently announced that it has approved the use of Botox to treat chronic migraines in light of studies supporting its efficacy and data that suggest this health condition may be costing the country money due to lost productivity.

Clinical trials have shown that nearly three-quarters of patients experience a 50 percent reduction in the number of days they experience migraines after receiving Botox treatment for one year, according to Health Canada.

“This is an important clinical advancement benefiting patients in Canada who suffer from chronic migraine,” said Stu Fowler, president and general manager, Allergan Canada, producers of Botox. “Until now, patients have had to rely on temporary, short-term means of coping with chronic headache pain. The approval of Botox as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine now offers neurologists, as well as headache and pain specialists a new, clinically-proven way to manage this debilitating condition.”

Chronic migraines are defined as occurring at least 15 days per month and lasting for four hours or more. It’s estimated that this condition affects 270,000 Canadian adults, costing about $1,800 annually for each patient. Healthcare expenditures stem from doctor visits, trips to the emergency room, diagnostics and prescription drugs.

Moreover, chronic migraines are thought to lower productivity, costing Canada money due to absenteeism. In a study, a total of 28 percent of individuals with the condition reported that they work fewer hours than their peers because of their headaches and 24 percent said they chose less demanding fields of work due to the pain. Researchers estimate that chronic migraines cost Canadian companies about $500 million each year.

Once a migraine sufferer gets a recommendation from their healthcare provider to receive the procedure, they should be sure to seek out an experienced practitioner. Botox injections to treat migraines are administered to seven muscle areas in the head and neck, and results should last about three months.