What’s the latest and greatest treatment for chronic migraines? Botulinum toxin. Botox.
How effective is this treatment? Not much better than nothing at all.
Botox may give patients just 2 more migraine-free days a month than placebo. But that was good enough to pass FDA scrutiny and make it to market.
BOTOX® is the only FDA-approved, preventive treatment that is injected by a doctor every 12 weeks for adults with Chronic Migraine (15 or more headache days a month, each lasting 4 hours or more). BOTOX® prevents up to 9 headache days a month (vs up to 7 for placebo). BOTOX® therapy is not approved for adults with migraine who have 14 or fewer headache days a month.
And what are the side effects of this miracle treatment? According to the Botox web site:
BOTOX® may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of these problems any time (hours to weeks) after injection of BOTOX®:
- Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing, due to weakening of associated muscles, can be severe and result in loss of life. You are at the highest risk if these problems are pre-existing before injection. Swallowing problems may last for several months
- Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice (dysphonia), trouble saying words clearly (dysarthria), loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing. If this happens, do not drive a car, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities.
Fortunately, I don’t suffer from chronic migraines. I can only imagine what it’s like to live day in and day out with debilitating headaches. If this treatment works for some people and they think the potential side-effects are worth the risk, then who am I to tell them this is a bad choice. It may be the best choice for them.
What does bother me, however, is that cannabis can help people with migraines with a lot fewer side effects than Botox or other FDA approved medications. Migraine sufferers regularly report positive results from cannabis. Despite this, patients across the country are denied access to this valuable medicine.
The human body produces it’s own cannabis-like chemicals called endocannabinoids, and research has demonstrated a link between endocannabinoid deficiency and migraines. The only way to supplement an endocannabinoid deficiency is with phytocannabinoids. In other words, with cannabis.
In fact, a recent paper at PubMed states “Subsequent research has confirmed that underlying endocannabinoid deficiencies indeed play a role in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and a growing list of other medical conditions.”
In addition, research has shown that cannabis is very effective in treating pain, especially chronic non-cancer pain, including migraines.
Botox is classified as Schedule 4 in the Controlled Substances Act, by the way. Cannabis is still schedule 1.
Apparently the FDA thinks Botox, with all the potential side-effects that come with it including death, is still better than cannabis.
In thousands of years of human history, even just considering the last few decades of prohibition, there has not been a single death directly attributed to cannabis.
Cannabis is definitely safer than Botox.
If you’re curious, visit the Botox for Migraines web site for more info.
— Rx MaryJane (Teri Robnett)
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Categories: Medical & Research, Patients, Pharma, Research
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