Botox has been approved as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine by the UK drugs regulator.
It follows a trial of more than 1,300 patients showed success in reducing the frequency of headaches.
But only patients who suffer headaches for at least 15 days a month, half of which come with migraine symptoms, are eligible, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said.
An estimated 700,000 people in the UK get chronic migraines – and a spokesperson for Allergen said: ‘This is the first approval of Botox for this specific use anywhere in the world.’
Injections of botulinum toxin are more commonly associated with smoothing out wrinkles and it’s thought that, as well as being a muscle relaxant, it may work to block pain signals.
In clinical trials, patients were given up to five courses of injections of Botox into specific head and neck muscles every 12 weeks.
After 24 weeks, those treated with Botox had fewer days with a migraine than those who received a placebo injection.
By one year, nearly 70% of those treated with Botox had a 50% reduction in the number of migraines compared with before the trial.
Patients who may be suffering from chronic migraine should seek medical advice from neurologists or headache specialists to ensure proper diagnosis and care.
Wendy Thomas, chief executive of The Migraine Trust says: ‘Chronic migraine is currently an under-researched, under-diagnosed and under-treated condition. 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.’
Lee Tomkins, director at Migraine Action, adds: ‘It is important that patients seek a referral to a specialist for help with chronic migraine as the condition is so often associated with
depression and other medical co-morbidities.’
The final results were published in Headache in May this year.
For further information, visit www.allergan.co.uk.