Botox treatment for migraine and chronic daily headache in adolescents

J Neurosci Nurs. 2009 Oct;41(5):235-43. doi: 10.1097/jnn.0b013e3181aaa98f.


Children and adolescents experience headaches as do adults and usually present with migraine and chronic daily or tension-type headaches. As some adolescents are unable to achieve headache relief after various treatment strategies, we currently provide botulinum toxin type A (Botox) injections as a clinical treatment (off-label use) in selected cases. Botulinum toxin type A by injection has been found to be effective in the treatment of headache disorders in adults. We treated 12 adolescents (aged 14 to 18 years) with Botox injections for migraine and chronic daily headache. Six patients (all female adolescents) were in long-term treatment and received Botox in the standard "migraine" and "follow-the-pain" patterns every 3 months. Effectiveness was evaluated using pain scales and a standardized quality-of-life survey at baseline and prior to each treatment session. Duration of treatment was 3-29 months. Each patient had 9-63 (average = 42) injections per treatment. All 6 long-term patients reported improvement in headache symptoms, with decreases on pain scales and an average of 33%-75% improvement in quality of life. Two long-term patients had complete relief of headaches between injection series. Four patients had only one series of injections with good results. Two patients had no improvement and refused additional injections. Side effects were mild ptosis (n = 1), blurred vision (n = 1), hematoma at neck injection site with tingling in one arm lasting 24 hours (n = 1), and burning sensations at all injection sites which lasted 1 week (n = 1). Our group findings warrant a controlled trial evaluation of Botox because it may be an effective treatment option for certain adolescents with intractable migraine and chronic daily headaches.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / administration & dosage*
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Headache Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Headache Disorders / nursing
  • Humans
  • Migraine without Aura / drug therapy*
  • Migraine without Aura / nursing
  • Neuromuscular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Neuromuscular Agents / adverse effects
  • Off-Label Use
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A