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Old 03-07-2011, 08:16 PM   #1
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Post How long before Botox starts to work?

Hi, I am looking for people with experience with Botox for headaches. I never get migraines. My neck is always painful, so I assume this is the cause of the daily headaches. Usually my headaches are mild to moderate, but very annoying since it is always constant. I haven't been completely headache-free for years. I couldn't handle Topamax because of the side affects, though it did help. Anyway, I had the Botox shots exactly 2 weeks ago tomorrow. I heard that it can take about two weeks to work. It is not really working very well at this point. So I have two questions - can it take more than two weeks to start working, and does it just "kick in" and work suddenly, or is it gradual? I am trying to figure out if I should mentally face the fact that it's not working, or is there still the possibility that it could still improve. I'd like to hear from people using it for either tension or migraine headaches, as I assume they are similar as far as how Botox works on them.

Thanks much!

 
Old 03-25-2011, 05:47 PM   #2
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Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

First off, I have not gotten it myself, but I am also very curious to learn more about it. I was reading about the procedure and how approximately 31 shots are given, that you need to get them about every few months, and it costs in the thousands and often isn't covered by insurance. Is all of this true? That's terrible that insurance won't cover any of the cost, especially if one has tried many medications with no luck. I really hope you start to notice a benefit from it soon!

 
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:08 AM   #3
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Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

Hi tUrRrRa,

Thanks for the reply! I had approx 30 shots as you said. Most people do need them every few months. I have read that most insurance companies won't pay for it. However, United Healthcare DID pay for mine, which shocked me. I would have done it anyway, because my quality of life is more important to me than all the other things that I spend my money on. That said, it would have to work well before I would keep paying for it. If my insurance would have rejected it, my doctor would have given it to me as a free sample, though I'd still have to pay for the office visit. It's hard to say how much it would have cost me. The original bill was for a couple thousand, but as you may know, insurance usually makes them discount it quite a bit. I'm not sure how much they would have charged me outright. It is working a little for me now. I have a followup appt in one week, so I will see if she will want me to have more injections. I have read that sometimes you need more than one series before it starts working well. I think it's at least worth seeing if you can get a free sample.

Last edited by stopheadpain; 03-28-2011 at 05:06 PM.

 
Old 03-28-2011, 02:57 PM   #4
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Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

That is wonderful! And I'm so glad that your insurance helped out! I agree that it's very much worth the cost, because it's miserable to not be able to TRULY live your life when feeling bad all the time. Unfortunately it would be tricky for me because I'm just a few years out of college, got married, bought my dream car, and a house very recently. It's been a very expensive time! I'm still working on furnishing my house, which has to take the back burner right now. But then again, I am still in the beginning of trying various medicines and all, so I have other options I can try first! In the future though, when I can afford it without having to use credit, I'd definitely consider the Botox sounds like money well invested! I might check with my insurance out of curiosity to see how that works.

 
Old 04-21-2011, 05:31 AM   #5
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Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

Now that Botox is FDA approved more and more insurance companies are covering the treatment - if you have already tried other medications and your doctor writes a letter explaining why you need it. United Healthcare is good about covering things. I'm on it and they just covered me. I hope it works. I get classic migraines.

I'd be curious to see if it works for you since it sounds like you get tension headaches and the FDA approval and all the research was on migraine patients not tension headaches. I actually think it makes more sense that it would work on a tension headache than a migraine. Since they seem more related to muscle stress and tension.

I'm surprised your doctor would give you the treatment as a sample. (You're got to share that doctor's name) Each patient requires 155 units minimum which means they need to order the 200-unit bottle and that bottle costs about $1k. I don't know if they can save the extra Botox left over from other patients bottles?

 
Old 04-21-2011, 04:37 PM   #6
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stopheadpain HB User
Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

Hi tmjinflorida,

Thanks for the reply. Actually, it didn't end up working, but that doesn't mean other people shouldn't try it. My nurse actually said that it's been working well for a lot of doc's patients with both kinds of headaches.

As far as the sample, it was the Botox company/rep offering the sample, so the doctor wouldn't have paid anything for it. And it's only for those without insurance, so it was irrelevent in my case anyway.

United Healthcare did cover it and in fact I'm on two insurance plans (long story), and I paid absolutely nothing, because my 2nd insurance covered the deductible and co-pay. Too bad it didn't work though. I'm not sure about the pricing of the Botox, but once United Healthcare did their customary "discounting", they only paid the doctor somewhere in the $600's. The orginal bill was close to $2,000.

 
Old 04-21-2011, 04:59 PM   #7
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Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stopheadpain View Post
Hi tmjinflorida,

Thanks for the reply. Actually, it didn't end up working, but that doesn't mean other people shouldn't try it. My nurse actually said that it's been working well for a lot of doc's patients with both kinds of headaches.
Have you tried acupuncture? I find acupuncture helps but you have to get it consistently. Unfortunately my UHC plan will cover chiropractor adjustments but not acupuncture.

 
Old 04-21-2011, 05:05 PM   #8
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Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

Never tried it. My friend says it works great on her back, and is trying to get me to go to her accupuncturest (sp). I will keep this in mind, but i'm reluctant because of he cost. One of our managers tried it on her back and headaches and it made things worse. Guess it depends on the person. I'll keep this in mind though! My new drug, Gabapentin seems to be help somewhat.

 
Old 06-03-2011, 10:43 PM   #9
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busymommy HB Userbusymommy HB User
Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

Hi, All: I had my first series of Botox injections this past April 11th. Been a migraine sufferer, and how, for the past 11 years. Well, it took just over two weeks and, like magic, the migraines began their demise! I had an average of 9 per month (not as many as lots of folks, but my neuro was very sympathetic and put me in for the shots which my insurance covered...two rounds of them!), and my rescue meds were starting to become less effective. During the past month plus, I have had only one migraine, it was very mild, I took my rescue med and it completely vanished. I am so happy I could cry! Now I have to see if this trend continues. If so, I am and will be a very happy girl. I still take two preventatives each day, Topamax and Elavil, and don't plan to stop them for a while. I want to see if I can be migraine-free for maybe a few months for the first time in 11 years. We shall see if this keeps up. My advice for anyone out there, if your insurance covers the Botox and you have tried other meds, GO FOR IT! It does hurt, not to sugar coat it. The sticks of the needle do hurt but what about the migraines? I thought so. I would much rather have 30 needle sticks that one lousy migraine. So, Stop, it doesn't necessarily mean two weeks and, bang, everything is better. It took me about two and a half weeks. Give it enough time...maybe three weeks or so.

Last edited by busymommy; 06-07-2011 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Add additional words

 
Old 06-16-2011, 01:45 PM   #10
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inkerbelle HB User
Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

I too am a chronic migraine sufferer (~10-15 migraines per month, with an additional 5- 10 tension type headaches per month). I have BCBS of NM, and my neuro and I had to document all of the treatments I had tried for migraine and document that I had chronic migraine (I believe Botox is covered/approved only for chronic migraine). I had been successful using Imitrex injections for awhile, but eventually, I was using those up to the max that my insurance would cover, and would still be short each month. I take 100 mg of Topamax nightly (I've done for about 3 years). When I got approved for the Botox, I got my first injections at the beginning of May. The first week, I had maybe 2 migraines (about on par with my usual number). The second week, I had maybe 1 migraine and a few tension headaches. By week three, I didn't have any headaches. I'm about at week 6 now and just got one bad migraine that I think was menstrual cycle related. Otherwise, Botox has been a miracle in my life. I was literally crippled by headaches before the Botox, and now I don't have to prepare every day for the upcoming migraine. The *****s from the needles didn't bother me at all (I found it a little like acupuncture) - but maybe that's because I'm so used to pain now that a few needle *****s hardly seem like anything. I did feel a little weird the first few days after the injections - I don't know if that was real or psychosomatic, but I feel completely normal now. I had a lot of neck pain that went along with my daily life. The neuro did more injections in my neck, and that has helped immensely as well.

I will all those the best of luck in getting approved for this therapy - it is amazing. Like the previous poster, I do plan on continuing my Topamax for awhile. I can't take Imitrex anymore because of a certain AD I'm on, so I use Vicodin or Alleve as a rescue and heat/ice therapy, which seems to work OK.

Best,
Marie

Last edited by hb-mod; 06-16-2011 at 01:46 PM. Reason: Please don't post unapproved websites, per Posting Policy. Thanks.

 
Old 07-16-2012, 03:18 AM   #11
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Re: How long before Botox starts to work?

This info is probably too late. However, a complete set of injects are 26 and need to (or shall I say can be) repeated every three months. Because it's the only FDA medication on the market for CHRONIC (key work) migraines insurance companies can't deny it as long as you have tried everything else first. That would include trigger point injections, abortive, preventatives, etc.! If you fail enough trials than you can't be denied. Also, you must have more than 15 HA days per month. Not HA's but diagnosed, full fledge migraines. If you just (and I don't mean that like it's not a big deal) have headaches due to stress or whatnot daily, it's not the same. You need to be diagnosed with migraines. Once my neurologist send in the paperwork I received the approval within 72 hours. Please note, that I have done a lot to avoid getting here. There's nothing you can suggest that I haven't tried in the almost 42 years that I have had migraines. The last 27 years have been chronic daily! Prior to that I would have a few a month, then a few more, then a few a week, then three and four and five a week until I couldn't remember not having one. I even spent 28 days inpatient doing drug trials along with three admission (10 days each) of DHE; to name a few. This is seven days after the fact, but just find this site. Hopefully, I will gain some support here since nobody really understands. Think about this.......what is the most annoying thing someone has said to you about migraines?? I sure would be interested in hearing what everyone has to say!

 
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