Botox May Help Some Migraine Patients
Researchers Say Migraine Sufferers Treated With Botox Had Less Frequent Headaches
June 23, 2005 --
in some patients.
That's what researchers told members of the American Headache Society at
their annual meeting in Philadelphia.
Botox is famous for smoothing out wrinkles. The new study shows that its
effects may be more than skin deep.
The study looked at a specific group of migraine patients -- those with
frequent attacks who normally would require
There are about 6 million people in the U.S. with that problem, or about 2% of
U.S. migraine patients, says researcher David Dodick, MD.
Dodick works at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. He spoke about the
study in a media teleconference.
Dodick's team studied 288 migraine sufferers. On average, they had headaches
on 13.5 days of the month. They were about 42 years old; most were women.
Participants weren't taking any medications to prevent those migraines from
occurring, says Dodick.
Some patients got three treatments of Botox, spread over 11 months. The
others got placebo injections.
More Days Without Headaches
After 180 days, the Botox group had a bigger jump in headache-free days.
They had headaches on 7.5 days per month, on average. That's six more
headache-free days than at the study's start.
Headache-free days also rose in the placebo group, but not as much. They had
4.5 more headache-free days per month, the researchers report.
By the study's end, headache frequency was cut by more than half in about
52% of the Botox group, says Dodick.
Botox was "very well tolerated," says Dodick. Side effects were
usually mild and brief. They included neck weakness and neck pain.
"Weakness is certainly a recognized side effect of Botox," says
Dodick. He says the neck pain probably came from the injections, which were
mainly done in the forehead, temple, and muscles at the back of the head and
like muscles contracting around nerves, which set
off a series of events leading to migraine pain.
The treatment appears to prevent activation of a facial nerve, which is very
important in migraines, he writes in a news release.
More Trials Ahead
Botox isn't used to prevent migraines right now. More trials are slated to
begin this fall and early next year.
Dodick says he hopes results from those trials will be available in late
2006 or early 2007.