Botox May Soon be Used in UK to Treat Migraine


Botox may soon become an NHS-approved remedy for chronic migraine in England and Wales, following a recommendation by the health watchdog.

The toxins known as Botox are famous for their use in cosmetic treatments, to fill soft tissue and remove wrinkles.

But the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence(NICE) announced on Friday that its appraisal committee is backing the use of Botox injections for migraine sufferers for whom other treatments have not worked.

Thousands of people across Britain suffer from chronic migraine, defined by the regulatory body as headaches on at least 15 days per month of which at least eight days are with migraine. The organization estimates that chronic migraines afflict around 1.6 percent of adults.

"Chronic migraines are extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person's quality of life," said Professor Carole Longson, director of the health technology evaluation center at NICE.

"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."

NICE had been asked to advise the NHS on whether Botox, known chemically as botulinum toxin type A and manufactured by Allergan, would provide value for money in treating chronic migraine in England and Wales.

The appraisal committee has come out in favor of the treatment after obtaining more information and analyses from Allergan.

Longson said: "We have published our final draft guidance so that registered stakeholders can highlight any factual errors or appeal against our provisional recommendations.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."

Once the final guidance has been published, the NHS must allocate funding for the use of Botox as defined in the guidance within three months, under the rules of the NHS constitution.