The NHS for England and Wales may offer Botox injections to patients with chronic migraines, NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) has revealed.
In its final draft guidelines, NICE recommends Botox as a treatment for chronic migraines where other drugs have failed.
Chronic migraines are thought to affect 700,000 people in the UK. The word “chronic” refers to the fact headaches are experienced on at least 15 days a month with 8 of these being migraines.
Previously, NICE had stated there was a lack of evidence to recommend Botox as a preventative treatment for migraines on the NHS – despite the fact Botox treatments were approved for chronic migraines in the UK in 2010. [link to blog ~ I couldn’t find the link on your website]
The debate is whether Botox treatments for migraines should be NHS funded. NICE estimates that every 12-week treatment of the anti-wrinkle drug would cost the NHS £349.40.
Professor Carole Longson, the 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 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.”
How Botox works as a migraine reliever is unknown, although it is thought to be by blocking pain or relaxing muscles. The Migraine Trust welcomed NICE’s latest decision to recommend Botox as a treatment for sufferers.
Wendy Thomas, chief executive of The Migraine Trust said: “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.”
NICE will publish its final decision on whether Botox should be offered as a treatment for migraine patients on the NHS in June.