Botox helps reduce migraine headaches

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 00:00

California: Botulinum toxin type A (Botox), the drug that can temporarily erase wrinkles, may also help reduce frequency of migraine headaches that described as crushing, vicelike or eye-popping, a preliminary study suggests.

The study has been published in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers conducting clinical trials on botulinum toxin type A to treat facial lines recognized a correlation between injections and the alleviation of migraine symptoms.

"The initial promise of a new prophylactic [preventive] therapy for migraines was met by the challenge of replication of these results," as subsequent studies have failed to demonstrate botulinum was more effective than placebo, the authors write. "Researchers have searched for patient characteristics that may predict a favorable treatment response."

Christine C. Kim, M.D., then of SkinCare Physicians, Chestnut Hill, Mass., and now in private practice in Encino, Calif., and colleagues studied 18 patients (average age 50.9) who had already received or were planning to receive botulinum injections for cosmetic purposes but also reported having migraines. Of those, 10 reported imploding headaches-described by adjectives like crushing and vice-like-or ocular headaches, reported to feel like an eye is popping out or that someone is pushing a finger into an eye.

Nine patients had exploding headaches, described as feeling like one``s head is going to explode or split, or that pressure is building up. Some patients had more than one type.

Three months after treatment, 13 patients had responded to the treatment with a reduction in migraine pain, including 10 who had imploding or ocular headaches and three who had exploding headaches. All six of the patients who did not respond had exploding headaches.

Among all participants who responded to treatment, migraine frequency was reduced from an average of 6.8 days per month to an average of 0.7 days per month. Patients with exploding headaches experienced an average reduction in migraine frequency of 11.4 to 9.4 days per month, whereas frequency in participants with imploding or ocular headaches reduced from an average of 7.1 days per month to 0.6 days per month.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 00:00

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