Botox Injection Could Treat Migraine, Says NICE
Botox: Not just for women. Reuters

Many people across the world use Botox injections to make them look younger and beautiful. New research has found that Botox injections could also treat chronic migraine.

A team of researchers has found that the anti-wrinkle drug could treat chronic migraine. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended Botox as an option for prevention of headaches for people who have chronic migraine. It is for those who have headaches on at least 15 days every month, at least eight days of which are migraine and they have not responded to at least three prior preventive drug treatments.

"Chronic migraines are extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person's quality of life," BBC quoted Prof Carole Longson, the director of the health technology evaluation centre at NICE, as saying. "We are pleased that the committee has been able to recommend Botox as a preventative therapy for those adults whose headaches have not improved despite trying at least three other medications and whose headaches are not caused by medication overuse."

Researchers have found that Botox relaxes muscles around the head and thereby reduce blood pressure within the brain. It might reduce the nerves' ability to send pain signals during a migraine.

Longson said that Botox might prevent the nerves from sending signals that will lead to a migraine.

To know the effectiveness of Boxtox, researchers conducted an experiment on a group of people who had severe or chronic migraine. In that group, half of the patients were given placebo and the other half Botox.

Researchers found that patients who had received Botox injections had reduced the frequency of headache days compared to the patients who had received placebo. This clearly shows that Botox injections can treat chronic migraine.

"Chronic migraine is a disabling condition and in many cases ruins people's lives. For patients who suffer from this condition, Botox may offer a safe and effective preventative treatment option to help them manage their migraine and improve their quality of life," BBC quoted Wendy Thomas, chief executive of The Migraine Trust, as saying.

Contradicting this study, another group of researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin found that Botox injections work well in removing wrinkles, but are not effective for migraine treatment.

"I was surprised that the [migraine] benefit was so minimal," the Healthland Time quoted Dr Jeffrey Jackson, professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, as saying.

Migraines are thought to be caused by changes in the chemicals of the brain, in particular serotonin. Serotonin levels are believed to decrease during a migraine, which can cause the blood vessels in the brain to spasm and then dilate, causing the headache. Other triggers can be hormonal changes, certain food items, environmental situations, emotions, stress and physical triggers: muscular tension or poor sleep.