• Dr. Naureen Akhtar General Practitioner MBBS,MRCGP,DRCOG
Botox for migraine

For the first time, the NHS in Scotland will be prescribing Botox (Onabotulinumtoxin A) for patients suffering from chronic migraine. Advocates welcomed the decision. Patient will now receive injection treatment of muscle-paralysing drug on their head, face and neck every 12 weeks to treat and prevent migraines and reduce pain.

It is believed that more than 3,700 people in Scotland will be entitled for the treatment every year, costing at around £1,380 per patient. The move to approve Botox for migraine brings Scotland in the same line with the rest of UK. Patients in Wales and England have had access to such treatment since 2012. The availability of the treatment could significantly improve the quality of life of patients by lessening their suffering through the use of NHS resources.

Using Botox for Migraine

The Migraine Trust campaign manager Hannah Verghese told: ‘“Increasing the number of treatment options for people with this highly debilitating and disabling condition offers the prospect of reduced pain, reduced social isolation and a greater quality of life, particularly for those who find the current available treatment options ineffective.
“Although this decision is a positive one the Scottish Parliament and NHS Scotland must still commit to do more to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from headache and migraine in Scotland receive the best possible care throughout the health system.”

What is Migraine Headache?

Migraines are believed to be due to changes in the brain chemicals, particularly serotonin. Chronic migraines is characterized by frequent episodes of headaches per month (at least 15 ties) that last for four or more hours. Aside from intense throbbing pain, the symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, visual distortions such as flashing or zigzag patterns and increased sensitivity to bright light, smell or noise.

Although Botox for migraine is still more popular as a cosmetic treatment, more and more doctors discover alternative uses for it, which include potential treatment for depression, severe neck spasms and abnormal heartbeat.

It is still uncertain why it seems to alleviate migraine but it is believed that Botox for migraine block the nerves’ ability to send pain signals or reduce blood pressure in the brain by relaxing the muscles around the head.

Elaine Bell, 50, a Scottish migraine sufferer has experienced the enervating attacks all her life. When she was young, the only medication available was paracetamol which had no effect to relieve migraine at all. Elaine has been using Botox privately for two years to reduce the frequency and severity of her migraine attacks.

She said that after so many years of missed opportunities, family event, social functions and work, she’s finally a significant improvement in her life and that of her family. For people suffering from chronic migraine in which other treatments have been proven ineffective, Botox for migraine can fulfill an unmet need.