Botox for the prevention of chronic migraine
Botox has been approved as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine by UK drug regulators
For anybody who suffers from Migraines they will be only too aware of how awful this condition can be to live with. Migraines are debilitating headaches that occur on a regular basis, and when they occur life literally has to come to a stand still until the migraine passes, which can take a day or two. The symptoms of migraines are most often characterized by pounding or pulsating pain on one side of the head. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light. Most people who suffer from migraines are constantly seeking preventative measures and preventative treatments and for many relief never comes. However recently, Botox was identified as a treatment for patients suffering from migraines. Much in the same way that the anti-wrinkle cosmetic effect of Botox was discovered by accident so also was the treatment of Migraines discovered by accident. Essentially when migraine sufferers found relief following Botox cosmetic procedures, they mentioned it to their treating cosmetic clinicians and investigation began. Now Botox is commonly being used off-label to treat migraines.
The FDA has stated that Botulinum Toxin A (Botox) can be used to treat chronic migraines and it is recommeded to be given at intervals of about 12 weeks as multiple injections around the head and neck area as a preventative measure in order to dull and dampen the symptoms of Migraine. The FDA says it’s important that patients who suffer chronic migraines discuss with their doctors whether Botox is appropriate for them.
Allergan Inc., the pharmaceutical company and makers of Botox, says in a statement that the FDA’s approval applies to people with chronic migraine. Allergan says that when treating chronic migraine, qualified medical clinicians administer 31 Botox injections into seven specific head and neck sites in order to prevent the symtoms of Migraine. Allergan Inc also states that Botox, when injected at labeled doses in recommended areas, is expected to produce results lasting up to three months depending on the individual patient.
“Chronic migraine is a debilitating but under-recognized neurological condition,” Scott Whitcup, MD, Allergan’s chief scientific officer, says in the company’s announcement. “Oftentimes, chronic migraine patients mistakenly self-diagnose their symptoms as headaches or infrequent migraine and treat them with drugs that provide rapid, but temporary, relief rather than seeking an evaluation, diagnosis and treatment from a qualified headache specialist.”
Botox has been approved as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine by UK drug regulators. This approval comes after a trial of more than 1,300 patients showed success in reducing the frequency of headaches and migraines. Migraine charities said many of those with Migraines would not be properly diagnosed and that some patients can really struggle to find a treatment that successfully works for them.
Botox injections, or botulinum toxin A injections are more commonly associated with smoothing out of facial lines on the forehead and the treatment of crows feet at the side of the eyes. While it is not entirely clear why Botox may work in the treatment of migraines it is thought that, as well as being a muscle relaxant, it may work to block pain signals that are being transmitted from the localized area to the brain.
In clinical trials, patients were given up to five courses of injections of botox into specific head and neck muscles every 12 weeks. The results were quite clear and after 24 weeks, those treated with Botox had fewer days with a migraine than those who received a placebo injection. After the first year, nearly 75% of those treated with Botox had a 50% reduction in the number of migraines compared with before their treatment commenced.Botox injections, or botulinum toxin A injections are more commonly associated with smoothing out of facial lines on the forehead and the treatment of crows feet at the side of the eyes. While it is not entirely clear why Botox may work in the treatment of migraines it is thought that, as well as being a muscle relaxant, it may work to block pain signals that are being transmitted from the localized area to the brain.
Lee Tomkins, director of Migraine Action in the UK, stressed it was not a "cure" but offered hope for those who suffer the most frequent migraines. "We have been following these studies really closely and the evidence is really pretty solid."These people spend half their lives in pain.
Wendy Thomas, chief executive of The Migraine Trust, added: "We know that treatment with acute pain medication does not always work for these patients so we welcome new therapies, especially preventative medication, for this potentially disabling condition."