US health officials have approved the use of the wrinkle-smoothing injection Botox on patients who suffer from migraine headaches.
The drug, which is more commonly used as a cosmetic treatment, works by blocking the connections between nerves and muscle, temporarily paralysing tissue.
Individuals who experience 15 or more days of migraine headaches per month can now be treated with Botox, which is a purified form of botulinum and one of the most toxic substances in the world.
Doctors are being directed to inject patients in the neck or head every 12 weeks to dull future headaches.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the new use based on two company studies of more than 1,300 patients who received either a Botox injection or a dummy injection.
Patients who received Botox reported slightly fewer “headache days” than patients given the sham treatment. In the more significant of the two studies, patients on Botox reported about two fewer headache days than patients who did not receive the drug.
The drug already won approval this year to treat spasms in the elbows, wrists and fingers. It also is widely used off-label to treat broader movement disorders such as cerebral palsy.
Copyright Press Association 2010