There’s a new wrinkle on headache cures: Botox.
It often works when nothing else does.

Time – July 1, 2002

As many as 9 million of the estimated 28 million Americans who suffer from migraines find no protection or relief from pain killers or preventive medications. This article by a CNN medical correspondent recounts the discovery in 1992 by Beverly Hills based plastic surgeon Dr. William J. Binder of the effectiveness of Botox® to prevent migraine pain.


Half the 28 million Americans who get migraines never see a doctor about them. That is a shame, because not only are there plenty of drugs that can alleviate the often debilitating pain of migraines, but there are also whole classes of medications that can prevent them in the first place. These include beta and calcium – channel blockers that improve the flow of blood to the brain, anti-depressants that regulate levels of the brain chemical serotonin and various anti-inflammatory drugs and anti-seizure medicines (epilepsy and migraines, for reasons no one yet understands, seem to have common origins).

Unfortunately, a large group of migraine sufferers – perhaps as many as 9 million in the U.S. alone – find no protection or relief in today’s drugs. That is why there was so much excitement at the American Headache Society last week in Seattle about the news that these so called refractory migraine patients respond well to treatment with Hollywood’s new favorite drug: Botox.

The discovery that Botox can prevent migraines was a lucky accident. Plastic surgeons using diluted botulism toxin to remove wrinkles started hearing about a secondary effect.

“Patients”, remembers Dr. William Binder, “came back saying ‘not only have my wrinkles disappeared, but my headaches are also gone’”

As word spread in the medical community, more doctors began offering Botox to their migraine patients.