Franklin doctor uses Botox to treat migraines
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
FRANKLIN - The holiday lights, smells and shopping stress this time of year can be particularly tough on folks who suffer from chronic migraines.
New information is out there about a newly approved treatment that patients and doctors say is working, but it may surprise you.
That treatment is Botox.
"It's going to sound a little frightening, but we do about 31 injections," Wheaton Franciscan Neurologist Dr. Tracy Purath told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jodi Becker.
The FDA approved it within the last year, which means insurance companies can now cover it.
Dr. Purath, who is with Wheaton Franciscan's Headache Program in Franklin, says just like when it's used to loosen your wrinkles, Botox relaxes muscles that lead to massive migraines.
"For a lot of migraine sufferers, it's actually the muscle tightening that irritates the little nerve endings, which actually can propagate and start the whole cascade to occur."
She explains that they're stopping those migraines before they start.
"We can prevent them. It saves them not only time and energy, but it helps them feel better, overall."
Dr. Purath says her clinic has also been able to prove it keeps patients out of the emergency room.
"It's just a constant, all-consuming pain," Bethany Coats-Topel told us.
Coats-Topel, who is from Racine, suffered for years and tried at least a half dozens other things before finally finding Dr. Purath at the Headache Program.
"She knew exactly what was wrong, within probably 5 or 10 minutes."
Coats-Topel says she agreed to try Botox, and within minutes she felt a difference.
Within days, her pain was gone.
She says she was skeptical but Botox has been her cure-all.
"I had no social life. I couldn't do anything. When I got home from work, I went to bed. I didn't talk to my family. I couldn't do anything fun. It was awful. It's nice to be able to have a life again."
Botox does wear off, so patients go back for another round every three months or so, but the recent FDA approval means insurance now covers the treatment.
Dr. Purath says so many meds do not work on migraines, that the Botox results have rewarding to see in her patients.
"Unfortunately, there's very few things that we can actually fix or cure, so being a neurologist that treats headache patients, it's the best part of my job. I actually have something in my hand that I know is going to help these patients," Dr. Purath told us.
"That's just priceless."