Watchdog recommends Botox jabs for chronic migraineTreatment could soon be available on the NHS
Botox injections could soon be used by the NHS to treat patients with chronic migraines.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published final draft guidance recommending Botox for the condition when other drugs have failed.
The health watchdog was asked to advise the NHS on whether the benefits of using Botox - or botulinum toxin type A - to treat chronic migraine was value for money.
NICE is recommending Botox for adults with chronic migraine whose headaches have failed to respond to treatment with at least three other medications and whose headaches have not been caused by overusing medication.
Chronic migraine is defined as having headaches on at least 15 days a month, eight of which are migraine.
The draft guidance recommends that Botox injections should be stopped if the patient's headaches have not improved enough after two treatment cycles, or if the patient's "headache days" have fallen to fewer than 15 days a month over three consecutive months.
The total cost of treatment for the NHS is around £350 for a 12 week course.
NICE hopes to publish its final guidance for the NHS in June. Once this has been published, the NHS must allocate funding for the use of Botox as defined in the guidance within three months.
Professor Carole Longson, 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.
"We have published our final draft guidance so that registered stakeholders can highlight any factual errors or appeal against our provisional recommendations.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."
Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, chair of the British Association for the Study of Headache, said: "We are pleased that NICE has recommended Botox for those who have failed to respond to first-line treatments.
"The headache experts with first-hand experience in treating chronic migraine know how debilitating the condition can be for some patients, and Botox can be a life changing treatment."
This article was published on Fri 11 May 2012
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