Botox could be available on the NHS after clinical trials show it can ease the effects of chronic migraine
Thousands of migraine sufferers could benefit from Botox if an official review to offer the jabs on the NHS goes ahead.
Results from clinical tests suggest that the anti-wrinkle treatment can halve the effects of chronic migraine pain.
Using a purified version of botulinum toxin A, the therapy blocks overactive nerve impulses that trigger excessive muscle contractions, breaking the cycle of chronic headaches.
A review by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says there is insufficient evidence so far to approve NHS funding, although the Botox was licensed for use on migraines almost two years ago.
Joanna Hamilton-Colclough, director of Migraine Action, says using Botox for her headaches has absolutely changed her life.
‘I’ve been able to work without a headache and sleep properly for the first time,’ she says.
Although it may not work for everyone, Ms Hamilton-Colclough says the clinical tests show a 50 per cent reduction in migraine days for some patients.
‘We don’t think the treatment is expensive when you take into account the cost to the economy from people needing time off work for migraines, and to the NHS from A&E treatment,’ she says.
Professor Anne MacGregor, migraine expert at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, says: ‘It’s not a blanket treatment but it might be appropriate for a small number of patients.’