Is Advil and Tylenol just not doing it for you?
New research suggests that Botox injections benefit people who suffer from daily migraines and headaches.
The study, co-written by Michal Cutrer, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist, centered on a patient who had suffered from headaches for more than 20 years. Though pain levels range from person to person, the patient from the Mayo Clinic study had dealt with debilitating headaches for half her life.
“She had extremely intense pain that would only improve when she lay flat,” Cutrer explained, “So she really had been disabled for years, and had been to many, many doctors.”
In search of something that would help, Cutrer began giving the patient Botox treatments. The effects, he said, were startling…
“Quite amazingly, the intensity of the headaches went from a disabling level of eight out of 10 on a visual pain scale, to three out of 10,” Cutrer reported. “That’s not pain-free, but she was able to function.”
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) is to recommend the injections as a treatment to stop headaches from developing in adults who are badly affected by migraines.
Botox could make a huge difference to some migraine sufferers, headache specialists predicted. “The headache experts with first-hand experience in treating chronic migraine know how debilitating the condition can be for some patients and Botox can be a life-changing treatment,” said Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, chair of the British Association for the Study of Headache (Bash). “The medical evidence shows that Botox can provide significant benefit to patients with chronic migraine, helping to reduce the number of days disrupted by migraine or headache and improving their quality of life,” Ahmed added.
Sufferers who have used Botox say it helps them to undertake everyday tasks such as doing the school run, attending meetings or visiting a relative, he said. Chronic migraine affects an estimated one in 50 people, according to the Migraine Trust. Sufferers endure a headache for at least 15 days a month, and have a migraine on at least eight of them. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) licensed Botox for that purpose in 2010.