Cosmetic surgery drug should be offered to migraine patients

10 February 2011

Botox, a drug more often associated with facelift surgery, should continue to be offered to patients suffering from chronic migraines.

According to Migraine Action, despite the limited evidence supporting the use of Botox as a treatment for persistent, unexplained headaches, many patients have seen improvements while receiving the treatment and it should therefore continue to be an option.

There is still a large amount of uncertainty as to how the neurotoxin, which is often used to disperse wrinkles, helps to relieve the symptoms associated with migraines.

Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, trustee of the Migraine Trust, said: "Botox remains a treatment option in patients with chronic migraine particularly for those who may have exhausted other available treatment options.

"There are some patients that have responded well to treatment with botulinum toxin type A, while others did not."

His comments come after research conducted by the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, which looked at prior research and found that it could not see a reason for administering Botox to migraine sufferers.


1 Ahmed, Dr Fayyaz. "Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin review of Botox treatment for chronic migraine". The Migraine Trust. Thursday, February 10th 2011.

2 "Botox for chronic migraine". Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin. February 2011.

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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A Spire neurologist comments

Spire Manchester Hospital's specialist consultant neurologist Dr Adam Zermansky:

"It is great that there is a new therapeutic strategy which might be effective in treating this disabling condition.

There is some controversy surrounding its use because there are arguments about the methodology used in the 2 large placebo-controlled trials published last year (PREEMPT studies).  For example, the treated patients might have known they received the active drug rather than the placebo as their forehead wrinkles would have been less prominent. The benefit was felt to be clear enough for it to receive a licence from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). Certainly, I have seen a number of patients improve significantly following Botox injections, whose symptoms failed to improve with other medication. It has the advantage of very few side effects compared to other standard drug treatments and only needs administering every 3 months."

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)