Botox for Migraines – Cost & Reviews
Suffering from migraines can be a very debilitating condition which can affect a person’s ability to work, their social life and even their relationships in addition to enduring hours of pain and suffering. The number of migraine sufferers and the frequency of migraine attacks on a daily basis are an underestimated static according to the World Health Organization (WHO) with huge costs on society. Botox has recently been approved by the FDA as a possible treatment for reducing chronic migraines.
How Much is Botox for Migraines?
The average cost of having migraine treatment with Botox injections ranges between $1,000 and $1,800. Each Botox migraine procedure requires approximately 31 injections, with each injection typically containing four units of Botox formula, totalling 124 units for the whole treatment. Based on the average cost of $10 to $15 per unit, this would add up to the treatment costing around $1,240 to $1860. However, the cost of each procedure will largely depend on the individual fees charged by the cosmetic surgeon or clinic and the area in which you live.
What’s involved in the Cost?
The overall price should include doctor’s fees, facility fees, the Botox formula and the injections. A follow up visit may involve additional charges. The treatment lasts around 3 to 4 months, with repeat sessions being required.
In the facial region, Botox injections are placed between the eyebrows and on the forehead, with each side being treated. Several injections are also given in the neck and at the base of the skull and across the trapezius muscle. Cosmetic and plastic surgeons will not inject the area in the midline of your eyebrow as this would paralyse the eyebrows, prohibiting you from being able to raise them for several months. This is not a worthwhile price to pay for reducing migraine headaches.
Using Botox injections to reduce migraines can cause side effects such as weakness in the neck muscles (not usually severe but can be noticeable), slight elevation of the eyelids or even droopiness (ptosis) in the eyelid. The success rate for alleviating migraines with Botox injections is approximately 50 to 60% but can be as high as 75%. Botox injections can treat migraines by reducing muscle tension and thus relieving strain on the nervous system. The injections work by temporarily paralysing the muscle by blocking connections from the nerves. Botox injections can not only reduce the frequency of migraines but also the severity of the attack.
Is Botox cheaper than Migraine Medication?
Patients often have the choice of selecting either Botox injections or prescription medication to help with their migraine condition. Migraine medication such as the Triptan family of pills and Topamax can be very expensive. Drugs such as Topamax are used to help prevent migraine attacks as opposed to alleviating the severity of an existing headache. The cost of this prescription medication varies among pharmacies. Some example prices for Topamax tables are:
- 15mg, $90 for 60 tablets (approximately $45 per month);
- 25mg, $100 for 60 tablets (around 450 per month);
- 50mg, $100 for 100 pills (more or less $30 monthly).
Whilst this treatment does not seem to be overly expensive, when combined with individual doses of migraine reducing Triptan pills, the costs can become excessive. In most circumstances, over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen will not alleviate a migraine for many patients. Triptan tablets include products such as Axert, Replax, Frova, Amerge, Maxalt, Maxalt MLT, Imitrex, Zomig and Zomig ZMT, the cost of which can range between $22 and $33 per dose. This means if a patient experiences 2 migraines per month and takes one pill or dose per attack (which may not be sufficient for every patient) the cost for that patient will be $44 to $66 per month just for the Triptans. You can see where a patient experiences chronic migraines (15 or more per month) these costs can be exorbitant (ranging between $330 and $495 per month if the patient takes only one dose for each migraine).
There are also Triptan injectables such as Sumatripan 60mg injections by Imitrex costing around $80 per dose, which can be used for severe migraines and may reduce the cost by decreasing the number of pill doses required. In any event, the cost of migraine medication can be prohibitive for many.
Even with insurance coverage, many patients find themselves hoarding or saving their tablets in order to stay within the insurance quota. This is because under many insurance plans, patients only receive a very limited amount of migraine pills. For example, on an $850 monthly family insurance plan, some patients have reported only being entitled to 6 Triptan doses per month. This is not sufficient for chronic migraine sufferers, who can experience fifteen or more migraines per month. Other patients have reported only being allowed a $260 monthly cap for prescription migraine medication. This would allow only 12 Maxalt pills per month for example.
Since Botox injections can last around three months, the cost for alleviating migraines is approximately $400 on a monthly basis (which is around the same price patients pay for migraine medication, depending on insurance coverage and their intake requirements). Since migraines are treated as a medical condition and Botox treatment is approved by the FDA, many insurance plans will cover some of the cost towards Botox injections for migraines. However, there tends to be large co-payments required. As to whether Botox is cheaper for patients than migraine medication, this will depend on how the patient responds to each type of treatment, the frequency of attacks and also how much insurance will cover for each treatment.
Alleviating Migraines with Botox
In 2009 the FDA approved Botox as a means of treating chronic migraines. This condition is defined by the FDA to apply to persons who suffer from migraine headaches at least 15 per month with the duration of headaches continuing at least four hours per day. Botox injections are not recommended for migraine sufferers who get 14 migraine headaches per month or less. Other treatment options need to be considered for patients who experience less frequent migraine attacks.
Is Botox worth the Cost for Reducing Migraines?
Where a patient has tried prescription medication to manage their migraine attacks without success, Botox injections may be recommended. Since Botulinum toxin can cost around the same price as prescription tablets, the ultimate decision will depend on the patient’s individual responses to each type of treatment. Studies by Allergan have shown that Botox is effective for only alleviating about 2.3 headache days out of the month. This may not be a significant improvement for patients who are suffering chronic headaches who may require the pills in addition to Botox anyway. Some patients have reported no improvement with migraine medication and in this situation Botox may be a more worthwhile alternative even if it costs more.
Should I Pay the Cost of Botox for My Migraines?
There are numerous types of headache disorders which can occur. The migraine is described as an episodic attack with typical features including nausea and sometimes vomiting. Patients can also experience an intolerance or dislike of normal levels of light and sound. The headache can range from moderate to severe intensity and can either be experienced on one or both sides of the head. The throbbing pain can also be pulsating or constant. Migraines are often aggravated by routine physical activity.
Other types of headaches include tension type headaches (TTH) and chronic daily headaches, which can be significantly more disabling for the patient. TTH affects approximately 67% of males and over 80% of females. They are more prevalent than chronic daily headaches but are more episodic. They usually last less than a few hours but can also continue for several days. Chronic TTH can be unremitting for over long periods. Patients generally experience pressure or tightness which can spread into or generate from the neck area.
When seeking an appropriate treatment for patients’ headaches and migraines, the doctor should first diagnose the types of migraines the patient is experiencing. Unfortunately according to WHO, one third of patients who consult a doctor for headache related reasons are incorrectly diagnosed. If you are not diagnosed correctly, you may be wasting valuable time and money in trying to remedy the wrong condition. If you are given a diagnosis of chronic migraines, then Botox would be worthwhile considering as a possible treatment option. However, you should still be given a selection of treatment possibilities.
Can Botox help to save the Cost of Migraines on Society?
Migraines and headaches are one of the primary reasons for doctor consultations. They cost society millions in lost working days and missed school days as a result of headache disorders. For example social activity and work capacity is reduced in almost all migraine sufferers and in approximately 60% of TTH sufferers. Migraines are the 19th most common cause of years lived with disability (YLDs) worldwide, according to WHO. In many cases chronic migraines can lead to other disabilities such as depression. Not only does this cost economies in loss of work production, migraine sufferers also place a burden on the medical system and perhaps even welfare in some countries.
Although Botox is not a cure for headaches, having an effective treatment to manage migraines can not only help with patients’ pain, disability and damaged quality of life, it can also greatly assist with the financial burden this imposes on society. Since Botox injections can reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks, this will enable many sufferers to improve their condition and contribute more towards society through work and by reducing medical and other associated costs.
Below are real stories submitted about Botox injections to reduce headaches and migraines. Reviews include amount paid, how long the results lasted, ratings and opinions. If you’ve had headaches or migraines treated with Botox, please tell your story.
my doc recommended Botox
My doctor actually uses Botox to cure his migraines. He was away from work for a week last month and he told me that he tried all sorts of medication to cure his migraines but nothing worked. And you know doctors - they have access to the right stuff, the strong, good meds right. He said he injected himself on his forehead and temples. not only does he look much younger (which was a surprize in itself) but his migraines are gone. I decided to take up his offer and get Botoxed myself since i've been having excruciating head pain for a while. So far it's been two weeks and it seems like it's working. fingers crossed. the injections didn't hurt at all so i'm grateful for that.
I have about 20 migraines per month. It really took a toll on my life and I had to take time off work regularly. I tried botox and the migraines reduced. they are not so severe and i also get less of them. it's provided a lot of relief, however it hasn't stopped the problem altogether.
not worth the cost
Botox didn't help my migraines. I still experienced around the same amount and the degree of severity was also same. For the amount I paid, I would expect more. Unfortunately, as each patient reacts differently, there are no refunds or guarantees!
botox helps a little but very expensive
I suffer from chronic migraines. I usually take topamax to relieve the pain, but find it's very expensive and I don't really wish to be relying on such strong medication so i decided to try botox. even though it's more expensive, i find that i still get migraines (somewhat less), but still need topamax. in my opinion, botox injections don't really provide much relief for the amount you pay.