We have long known and Botox can work magic when it comes to erasing wrinkles. But the popular injected drug is not just used for purely cosmetic purposes. This week Emily Andre opened up about how Botox has made "such a difference" to a certain health condition she suffers from.
Writing in her weekly OK! column, NHS doctor Emily told readers how says the injections – administered across her forehead – have been a "game changer" for her "horrible" migraines, which sometimes head to her vomiting and losing her vision too.
"Although most people think Botox is a cosmetic procedure, it has all sorts of other uses that can benefit your health," says mum of two Emily, 32, who goes to her brother's aesthetics clinic for her jabs.
OK! spoke exclusively to an expert to find out more…
"Botox works by blocking the chemicals, or neurotransmitters, that carry pain signals from your brain," Dr Elizabeth Hawkes, a consultant oculoplastic and ophthalmic surgeon, who specialises in blepharoplasty, eye surgery and advanced facial aesthetics. "It effectively stops the chemicals before they reach the nerve endings around your head and neck."
According to Dr Hawkes, this is not a new development, and neither is it wacky or alternative.
"Botulinum toxin type A – or Botox as it's commonly known – has been licensed by NICE as a treatment for migraines, this means it’s been approved as a treatment by headache specialists to prevent headaches in some adults with long-term migraine. As a type of nerve toxin, it paralyses muscles."
How is Botox administered to treat migraines?
"Botox for migraines is administered in the same way as Botox for aesthetics, and involves injections into the forehead, temples, back of the head, and around the neck," explains Dr Hawkes. "There are over 30 sites around the head and the neck where it can be injected as a very effective way of treating headaches."
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How long does it take to work?
"It takes two weeks for the Botox to work and you can expect it to reduce the frequency of the migraines and for some people they stop completely," says the doctor. " It usually lasts 4-6 months before needing to be re administered."
But don't put down the box of paracetamol just yet, warns Dr Hawkes. "Botox is not the first line of treatment for migraines, and I would advise anyone suffering from headaches or migraines to see their GP as a first port of call who will then try to establish the cause of the headaches and possibly refer them to a neurologist."
Does it work for all headaches?
"It very much depends on the type of headache you’re suffering from as to whether or not Botox is an effective treatment," she says. "NICE recommends that this treatment can be considered as an option for people who have chronic migraines, which is headaches on at least 15 days of every month, at least 8 days of which are migraine, that have not responded to at least 3 previous preventative medical treatments.
"It costs approximately £700 but this varies depending on the clinic and practitioner."
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