Botox gets nod for migraine
NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, 2012
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Botox injections may soon be approved to treat migraines on the NHS
The NHS is set to use Botox injections to treat chronic migraines, it has been widely reported today.
The muscle-paralysing injections are popular as a cosmetic treatment, but due to its nerve-blocking effects, Botox does have a role in the treatment of certain medical conditions.
The move to use Botox to prevent migraines is based on new guidance published today by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which looks likely to come into force in the near future.
NICE recommends that Botox can be considered as an option for the prevention of headaches for people who have chronic migraine (headaches on at least 15 days of every month, at least eight days of which are migraine) that has not responded to at least three prior preventative drug treatments.
This latter point is key – although this treatment will be available on the NHS very few people may actually be eligible.
The treatment will be available for people whose migraine is debilitating enough to require preventative treatment to be taken, and then for only the small proportion of those who have not responded to other standard preventative drug options.
A migraine is a type of headache where the person often has an intense throbbing headache and additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or increased sensitivity to bright light, noise or smell.
There are two recognised forms of migraine: a migraine is often described as a classic migraine with ‘aura’ if the person gets some form of visual distortions prior to the headache.
Migraines are thought to be caused by changes in the chemicals of the brain, in particular serotonin.