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Your Child

Botox for Children’s Migraine Headaches


If your child suffers from migraines, Botox may be able to help. Typically thought of as a beauty enhancement, Botox has also become an effective treatment for people that experience 15 or more migraine attacks each month.

Botox is a form of a toxin that temporarily freezes the muscles. It helps to prevent migraines by blocking muscle spasms.

Since Botox has been approved for treating adults with migraines, researchers from the University of California, Irvine, wanted to know if Botox would also work for children and adolescents.

The study included nine children and adolescents between ages 8 and 17 years of age. Over a period of five years, the participants received treatments every 12 weeks, and saw significant decreases in the frequency and severity of their headaches. The Botox had no major side effects.

Initially, the children and teens reported their pain levels during migraines as being between four and eight, on average. After Botox injections, these levels fell to a rant of 1.75 to five. Originally, they had experienced migraines anywhere from eight to nearly 30 days of each month, but after Botox, the patients got between two and 10 monthly migraines.

The study noted that many adults that have migraines began having them as children. By the time they receive the Botox treatments, they’ve been suffering for many years.

Dr Shalini Shah, one of the study’s co-authors told Daily Mail Online that management of children’s migraines mostly comes down to trial and error.
Typical treatment for children with migraines includes over the counter or prescription Tylenol or Advil.  If those drugs don’t help, a child might be prescribed a seizure medication, which Shah says children don’t tolerate well.

Shah has been using Botox off-label to treat migraines in her pediatric patients for years.

‘Most of the kids I get [as patients] are being home-schooled,’ she says. Their migraines are so debilitating, and, in many cases last multiple days, that they are not able to attend regular school and keep up with assignments.

What’s worse, she says, is that other treatments - like Advil, Tylenol or seizure medications – are sedatives that can make children drowsy and nauseous.

The treatments for migraines themselves leave children ‘half-asleep, and that’s no way to really live,’ she says. Both migraines and their medications cause children to struggle in school.

To treat migraines, Botox is injected at several sites at the front, back and sides of the head and in the neck, in both adults and children.

 Shah says that Botox has been used to treat many other forms of head pain in children, including headaches with other causes, like cancer. But the FDA hasn’t approved its use for migraines simply because ‘it’s never been systematically studied,’ she says.

Shah recommends that parents who are considering taking their child for Botox treatment make sure that they find a physician with plenty of experience.

While side effects may be low, Botox is not risk-free.

The primary risk with Botox is that the toxin could travel to other parts of the body. Even locally, if it traveled just slightly from the injection site, clinicians have to worry that it could paralyze muscles used in breathing or freeze the neck in an odd or uncomfortable position.
So far, the study authors have not observed these or other longer-term effects after giving more than 1,000 injections, Shah said.

There is no way to completely prevent the chemical from traveling, but someone experienced giving Botox injections is the best way to reduce risks.

Shah says that these results ‘demonstrate promise’ to finally provide more than a trial and error approach to preventing and treating migraines in children and teens, but she says that the forthcoming, larger trial is needed to prove that Botox is safe and effective for a younger demographic.
The study’s results were presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Anesthesiology 2017 annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.  The research team noted that about 60 percent of visits to pediatric headache specialists are for migraines.

Story source: Natalie Rahhal, 

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Headaches & Migraines

Your Child

Botox Injections for Young Migraine Sufferers?


Botox injections are typically thought of as beauty enhancers for adult men and women, but a small study in California, suggests that the injections may also help children find relief from migraines. 

The new findings are based on testing among just nine children, aged 8 to 17. Currently, Botox is only approved as an adult migraine treatment and research has shown that for some people, it’s been effective.

The new study may provide hope for a young migraine sufferer looking for an alternative treatment, since the one approved preventative medication, topiramate, is only available to adolescent patients.

"When children and teens have migraine pain, it can severely affect their lives and ability to function," said study author Dr. Shalini Shah, chief of the division of pain medicine at the University of California, Irvine, 

"They miss school, their grades suffer and they are left behind, often unable to reach their full potential," she added in an American Society of Anesthesiologists' news release. "Clearly, there is a need for an alternative treatment for those who haven't found relief.”

After the treatments with Botox, Shah noted, "we saw improvement in functional aspects in all of the children and teens. In fact, one patient was hospitalized monthly for her migraine pain prior to Botox treatment and was expected to be held back in school. After treatment, she only has one or two migraines a year, and is excelling in college."

Researchers said that before treatment, the participating patients experienced migraines between roughly eight and 30 times per month.

The kids and teens were given Botox shots to the front and back of the head and the neck every 12 weeks for five years. Once treated, the study volunteers had migraines between two and 10 times a month.

Researchers said the patients experienced less pain and the duration of the migraine attacks decreased. No severe side effects were reported and another study is already being launched.

Shah recently presented the findings at a meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Boston. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary if they haven't been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Story source: Alan Mozes,

Your Child

Vitamin Deficiencies Linked to Kid’s Migraines


Those that have migraines say the pain is like nothing else - an intense throbbing or pulsing sensation in the head that can bring you to your knees.

The reason people get migraines is still a mystery, but a new study says scientists and doctors may want to add vitamin deficiency as a possible cause.

The study, presented at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society, suggests that doctors treating patients with migraines may want to screen for vitamin D, riboflavin (B-2) and coenzyme Q10 deficiencies.

For the study, researchers at Cincinnati Children’s looked at existing data on 7,691 young patients who were migraine sufferers and their records of blood tests for baseline levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate. Of the study participants, 15 percent were found to have riboflavin levels below the standard reference range. A significant number of patients—30 percent—had coenzyme Q10 levels at the low end of the standard reference range. Significantly lower vitamin D was seen in nearly 70 percent of the patients.

The researchers also found that patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies than patients who had episodic migraines. Girls and young women were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency, but the reasons behind these trends need further investigation.

Hershey says the study adds to an ongoing observation that a significant number of people with migraines have lower levels of these vitamins. However, this trend is not seen in all patients across the board.

Scientists have looked at the link between vitamin deficiencies and migraines before, but research has been inconsistent. This study shows an association, but does not prove that vitamin deficiencies cause migraines.

In general, taking these vitamin supplements at recommended doses probably can’t hurt, but much more research is needed to determine whether vitamins alone could help stop migraines. One challenge researchers face is that vitamin supplements are often an intervention used in addition to medications and other experimental therapies. It’s therefore difficult to determine whether improvements in the condition can be explained for reasons other than supplement use.

If your child suffers from migraines, you may want to ask your doctor to screen him or her for vitamin D, Coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin levels. You can then discuss adding supplements if the results show your child is deficient in any of these vitamins.

Story source: Jessica Firger,


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