[caption id="attachment_10042" align="alignleft" width="225"] Katie Walley and her son[/caption]
Katie Walley is a Hattiesburg, Miss., resident whose life changed a year ago.
After battling years of migraines since childhood, the condition had become too much. Walley would sometimes get three to four chronic migraines a week, which she described as “debilitating and paralyzing.”
“As I got older, I remember in high school and college – especially during stressful finals – sometimes they would last two days,” Walley recalled.
In 2015, after a particularly difficult month of suffering with nearly 20 headaches, her neurologist, C. Scott Lynn, MD
, at Hattiesburg Clinic Neurology
, recommended Botox.
Walley was aware that the drug had long been used as a cosmetic injection to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles but had also been hearing about it as a way to treat migraines. She said considering how relentless her condition had become, she was eager to try.
“After the first [treatment], I only had one headache following Botox. It has since decreased to none,” said Walley.
Botox, an injection of the neurotoxin onabotulinumtoxinA, is the first and currently the only FDA-approved preventative treatment for adults with chronic migraines.
After it was studied in large clinical trials of people with chronic migraine, the drug met the necessary requirements for safety and effectiveness and was given the green light by the FDA in 2010. Since then, approximately 100,000 people with chronic migraine have been treated with Botox.
“Chronic migraine is a severe subtype of migraine. It’s typically diagnosed when a patient has a history of migraine and experiences a headache 15 or more days in a month that might last four or more hours each day,” said Wendell R. Helveston, MD
, another neurologist at Hattiesburg Clinic who uses Botox to treat migraines.
Dr. Helveston said the use of Botox for migraines is growing due to patients finding success with it as a way to prevent headaches.
“It’s easier to get ahead of the headache and catch it before it starts, rather than trying to treat it during a chronic migraine episode,” he said.
To treat chronic migraine, Botox is injected into the muscles of the forehead, side and back of the head and neck. Botox works by blocking the pain signals and allowing the muscles to relax. The treatments are usually given once every 90 days.
Sherry Broome, of Lumberton, Miss., lived with migraines for at least 20 years.
“I would get them several times weekly. They’d put me in bed, unable to function, vomiting,” she said.
Broome first heard about Botox as an option for migraines from her sister-in-law. After beginning treatment, she noticed significant results.
“I can get out of the house, go to church, spend time with my grandchildren. It gave me my life back,” she said.
Jose P. Fernandez, Jr., MD
, who treats Broome for her migraines, said although results vary per patient, many patients have found the treatment to be surprisingly effective.
“Most patients are very pleased with the outcome. We usually find that it works better each time and, with each round of treatment, continues to reduce the number of headache days each month,” said Dr. Fernandez.
That is a fact to which Katie Walley attests. She said her quality of life has drastically changed. She has not had a single migraine in more than a year.
The mother of two is now able to use some of that extra headache-free time to become more active in her kids’ lives. And they’ve noticed it, too.
“My boys are so happy that I don’t ‘always have a bad headache’,” she said. “I used to have to lay down before we’d do anything, and now I don’t have to do that. It is freeing.”
To learn more about Botox for migraines, visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com/botox
or call 601-268-5620.