Botox shots may prevent chronic migraine symptoms

NEW YORK, Sept. 27 (Reuters Health) – Fifty percent of patients with chronic migraines who are treated with Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) injections remain migraine-free for an average of 3.2 months, according to findings presented at the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

Dr. William J. Binder of the University of California in Los Angeles discussed the results of a multimember trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of Botox injections for the treatment of chronic and acute migraine in 11 male and 89 female study subjects.

The research team administered 110 Botox treatments at an average dose of about 33 units per injection over the 6-year study period. Injections are administered primarily in the central and upper portions of the forehead and the temple regions.

According to Binder, half of the patients have achieved complete elimination of migraine symptoms and 32% have experienced at least a 50% reduction in migraine frequency or severity. About 17% of the patients had a less than 50% reduction in migraine symptoms.

“Eighty percent of the 13 patients in acute migraine crisis had all symptoms aborted within one-and-a-half hours of treatment,” Binder told Reuters Health in an interview prior to the meeting.

Aside from localized pain and bruising at the injection site, no adverse effects were noted.

“This is the only known drug that has any potential prophylactic effect on migraine,” Binder explained. “This treatment keeps patients migraine-free for 3 to 4 months (and) some patients have been migraine-free for 3 to 4 years, with no long-term side effects.