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Botox may be used as cure for migraines

THE use of Botox to treat chronic migraine moved a step nearer in the UK today.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has published final draft guidance that recommends the jab for the condition.

Nice is advising the NHS whether the benefits of Botox, known chemically as botulinum toxin type A and manufactured by Allergan, for chronic migraine are value for money.

A spokeswoman said: "In February, Nice asked Allergan to provide more information and analyses as part of a public consultation on its draft recommendations."

The draft guidance recommends that injections should be stopped if the headaches have not improved enough after two treatment cycles, or if the "headache days" have reduced to fewer than 15 a month over three consecutive months; this is because they will have a different sort of migraine.

Debilitating

Professor Carole Longson, director of the Health Technology Evaluation Centre at Nice, said: "Chronic migraines are extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person's quality of life.

"We have published our final draft guidance so that registered stakeholders can highlight any factual errors or appeal against our provisional recommendations. We have not yet issued guidance to the NHS on the use of this drug."

Chronic migraines involve having headaches for at least 15 days a month over three months, eight of which are migraines. It is not known exactly why Botox may work, although it is thought it could block pain signals as well as being a muscle relaxant.

In July 2010, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approved Botox as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine in the UK.

Joanna Hamilton-Colclough, director of Migraine Action, said: "The announcement today will help these patients gain access to badly needed preventative treatment."

hnews@herald.ie


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