Though Botox (botulinum toxin A) injections are approved by FDA as pventative treatment for chronic migraines but, the main constituent in Botox may be moderately beneficial for patients with chronic migraine headaches. It does not appear to offer much relief to patients who have less-frequent headaches.
Botox is used to treat a range of conditions besides migraines, including wrinkles and excessive sweating. For their new analysis, ateam led by Dr Jeffrey Jackson, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, investigated twenty-seven studies, in which more than five thousand migarine patients were arbitrarily assigned Botox jabs in neck and head or a placebo injection.
Most studies allowed patients to use other medications to prevent headaches in addition to the Botox injections. Initially participants with chronic migraines reported to have seventeen to twenty headaches per month on an average. Twelve weeks after receiving Botox jabs, the frequency had dropped by an average of two headches montly, than patients getting a placebo.
But, in patients with fewer migraines, who begin six headaches per month, the Botox injections did not seem to provide any change in frequency of headache. The findings remain consistent even after considering age of the patients and dose as well as strategy used to give Botox jab. The study was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
During study trails about half of study participants had side effects. Patients who randomly assigned to receive the active drug injections were twenty-five percent more likely to report any type of side effect. Weakness in muscles was nine times more frequent in those patients, and neck pain or stiffness was reported three to five times more common in those patients than in the placebo groups.
Lead author Dr Jackson , stated these effects appear to be having on migraine headaches is small, it only reduces headaches by a couple of days a month, which is really modest. Still, it is possible that some chronic migraine patients will benefit from injections much more than others.
Earlier studies have suggested that people with chronic migraines who are prescribed the drug also tend to have shorter-lasting migraines on the days when they still have headaches. The difference equaled about forty fewer hours per month with pain compared to patients given placebo injections, explained Dr Mitchell Brin, Allergan’s Chief Scientific Officer for Botox.