New Study Questions Effectiveness of Botox for Migraine Treatment

February 23, 2012

A single knockout punch to keep migraine pain and wrinkles at bay. Is it too good to be true?  A recent study says it may be.

If you have ever suffered from a migraine, Botox may have been recommended as a treatment option. But now, an article published in Drug and Therapeutic Bulletin (DTB) says that despite being approved in the United States and United Kingdom, there is limited evidence to prove that botulinum toxin A — better known as Botox — is more effective than any other migraine procedure.  The solution also carries some downside that patients should consider when evaluating this migraine procedure.  Migraine Botox treatments can be expensive (nearly $450 every 12 weeks), and the toxin can potentially cause headaches, pain, stiffness and muscle spasms, according to the DTB editor Ike Iheanacho, M.D.

The DTB article describes two double-blind trials that are frequently cited to promote the benefits of Botox in treating migraines over other migraine procedures. In the first trial, 679 adults who suffered from chronic migraines headaches received either an injection of Botox or a placebo every 12 weeks — a total of 31 injections in the head or neck. At 24 weeks, the study found that individuals who received the migraine Botox treatments had the same number of headaches as those who received the placebo.

The second trial was conducted in the same fashion, but measured the number of days migraine sufferers had a headache rather than the number of headaches. Again, individuals who received Botox did not fare any better than the migraine sufferers who received the placebo.

The report states that together, the two studies do not present much evidence that migraine Botox treatments are effective. “We don’t think it offers much to people with chronic migraines, as far as we can tell from the evidence available,” said Dr. Iheanacho.

Consult a migraine specialist and research the potential downsides – in addition to the potential benefits – of any migraine procedure you may consider.  Few solutions are perfect, but one may be right for you… especially if it helps you to overcome debilitating pain and participate in activities again.

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