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J Cosmet Dermatol. 2014 Sep;13(3):224-31. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12098.

Evaluation of headache relief with cosmetic onabotulinumtoxinA injections.

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The Goldman Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, PLLC, Boone, NC, USA.


Chronic headaches are common and can have a significant effect on quality of life. Approved treatment options are vast and include the use botulinum toxin injections. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of purely cosmetic onabotulinumtoxinA (BOTOX) injections on the frequency and severity of chronic headaches. Patients seeking treatment of hyperfunctional facial lines were enrolled to complete pre- and posttreatment questionnaires assessing headache symptoms. Quantitative data was compared using paired two-tailed student t-tests between groups of patients who received onabotulinumtoxinA injections, both onabotulinumtoxinA and hyaluronic acid (Restylane) injections, and hyaluronic acid injections. One hundred and ten patients were enrolled; 73 completed the study. Of the 45 patients with pretreatment headaches, 76% (22/29) that received cosmetic onabotulinumtoxinA injections alone and 69% (27/39) that received onabotulinumtoxinA with or without hyaluronic acid injections reported overall improvement in headaches. Patients who received only onabotulinumtoxinA reported a significant decrease in the frequency (P = 0.0016) and severity (P = 0.0002) of headaches, and the number of days over-the-counter medications were taken (P = 0.0238). It took an average 9.5 days for headache improvement vs. 4.4 days for an appearance change. In patients who received only hyaluronic acid injections (n = 6), no significant improvement in headaches was reported. Overall satisfaction was high and unaffected by whether patients experienced headache relief. The majority of patients (93%) reported that they would "definitely" or "likely" receive onabotulinumtoxinA injections again in the future. Purely cosmetic onabotulinumtoxinA injections of doses between 15-50 units can significantly decrease the severity and frequency of headaches.


Botox; Restylane; botulinum toxin; chronic headaches; hyaluronic acid; migraines

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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