Botox Brings Hope to Migraine Sufferers

Better than Other Drugs for Migraines?

There have been studies claiming the effectiveness of Botox in reducing migraine frequency, and hence the popular product has garnered approval. Nonetheless the studies have mixed results, and now a new review of studies are claiming that the compound have only few benefits and side effects, though both are significant.

There were 17 studies in a meta-analysis of prophylactic treatment for migraine that were analyzed by researchers, involving more than 3,000 participants, 86% were women in whom chronic migraines were affecting 43%. The trials were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled that compared patients receiving botulinum toxin versus placebo injections in the head and neck muscles. The primary outcome was change in the number of headache episodes per month from baseline to 3 months.

Overall analysis reported a tendency in favor of botulinum toxin over placebo at 3 months. The reduction in frequency of chronic migraines was significant. Analysis of chronic migraine frequency was also significant after 2 months. The findings also highlighted an improvement of the patient’s quality of life at 3 months in the botulinum toxin group. Further adverse events were traced in the botulinum toxin type A group with a statistically significant risk ratio. There were no severe side effects reported but Botox did have more side effects than a placebo, including a greater incidence of muscle weakness, double vision, drooping eyelids, neck pain and muscle tightness.

Data showed that the patients were treated with usually a range of 15 to 20 shots around the head and neck given once every three or four months. Overall, compared to placebo, Botox injections resulted in an average 1.6 fewer attacks per month for chronic sufferers, who have more than 15 migraine attacks per month. The study concludes that botulinum toxin type A injections are superior to placebo for chronic migraines after 3 months of therapy. For the first time, a real benefit in patient quality of life is demonstrated with only few and mild adverse events.

Are there other drugs for the prophylactic treatment of chronic migraine?

Yes, there are, but their side effects can be more severe than Botox. This meta-analysis appeared in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in January 2019.