Botox for Migraines: The PREEMPT Protocol

Botox for Migraines: The PREEMPT Protocol at Cosmetic Doctor Dublin

Botox has become synonymous with anti-ageing in the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, but did you know it can be extremely effective in use for some types of migraine headaches?

Botox® (onabotulinum toxin A), was licensed specifically for the treatment of chronic migraine in July 2010 by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Clinical trials leading to the approval of Onabotulinum toxin A were called PHASE III Research Evaluating Migraine Prophylaxis Therapy (PREEMPT) protocol.

With this protocol, developed and tested extensively, small injections of multiple units each are placed at prescribed locations just under the skin over the forehead, sides of the head, and back of the head and neck.

Botulinum toxin and headache

There are many different types of headaches, and indeed different types of migraines, but Botulinum toxin has been proven to help patients with chronic migraine, and in some cases episodic migraine.

Chronic migraine is defined as headaches occurring on 15 or more days each month, at least half of which have migrainous features.

How does botulinum toxin work for migraines?

It is thought that Botulinum toxin may inhibit the release of peripheral nociceptive neurotransmitters, which may then have a knock-on effect on the central pain processing systems that generate migraine headaches.

In other words, the injections help by blocking the sensory nerves in the head, not through the relaxing of overactive muscles in the way Botox is often used to treat other medical conditions. (Botulinum toxin has been shown to reduce pain in cervical dystonia, neuropathic pain, lower back pain, spasticity, myofascial pain, and bladder pain.)

When used to treat migraines, the headaches should lessen in frequency and severity over one to two weeks, with the effect lasting up to 4 months. The success rate can be as high as 65% in certain populations, and can be repeated every three to four months.

Is Botox® right for me?

The short answer is that you won’t know until you try, but Dr. Fay can advise you on the potential success for your type of migraine, or tell you if it’s worth trying.

It is suggested you keep a ‘headache diary’ to help determine the patterns, potential triggers and easing of your headache pain whilst undergoing PREEMPT protocol.

To find out more, call Cosmetic Doctor on 01 685 3100 or book an appointment online here



Dr Lisa Fay
MB BCh BAO, DCH, MRCGP, HDip Derm, MSc Derm,, BTEC, FPC, MBACD

Dr Lisa Fay is the founder of CosmeticDoctor.ie. She has over 12 years of clinical experience and has been performing aesthetic treatments for over 9 years.

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Tel: 01 685 3100
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Email: info@cosmeticdoctor.ie