The journal Headache is reporting today that Injections of botulinum toxin, better known as Botox, may help prevent migraines in people who suffer frequent migraine attacks that are poorly controlled with oral prevention therapies. There also appears to be some benefit in the reduction of severity of the migraines when they do occur.
Dr. Roger Cady and his colleague Dr. Curtis Schreiber of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Missouri evaluated the efficacy and safety of a single series of Botox injections over a period of six months, comparing them to placebo shots. They report that Botox had "beneficial, albeit limited, effects on measures of migraine frequency and was not effective in lowering headache pain severity" according to the article.
While the results were modest, these Botox-treated patients did have fewer headaches and fewer headache days than placebo-treated patients. In addition, Botox had what they considered to be a measurable positive impact on the quality-of-life for those patients who received the actual Botox.
One example of this was in the Headache Impact Test, a six-item survey of pain, role functioning, social functioning, fatigue, cognition, and emotional distress. Scores were significantly better for Botox-treated patients than for placebo-treated patients.
The authors conclude that Botox may be worth consideration for headache patients who aren't doing well on other migraine preventive agents.