Injections of botulinum toxin are effective in reducing the frequency of chronic migraines. Explanations.
And if botox injections allowed migraine sufferers to reduce the frequency of their seizures? So far mainly used in cosmetic surgery since the early 2000s, botulinum toxin has neurotoxic properties that make it an effective tool to prevent migraine headaches.
This is highlighted by a meta-analysis conducted by a team of French researchers, published in the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). "According to the meta-analysis of grouped clinical trial data, botulinum toxin is superior to inactive placebo for the preventive treatment of migraine," explains Professor Benoit Chaput, MD of Rangueil University Hospital, In Toulouse.
A decrease in migraine episodes
Professor Chaput and colleagues identified and analyzed data from 17 previous randomized trials that compared the efficacy of botulinum toxin with placebo for the preventive treatment of migraines. These studies included nearly 3,650 patients, of whom approximately 1,550 had chronic migraines, with at least 15 headache attacks per month for more than 3 months and with migraine symptoms at least 8 days per month. The remaining patients had less frequent episodic migraines.
In the pooled analysis of the data, the researchers found that botulinum toxin injections had significantly reduced the frequency of chronic migraine attacks. Thus, 3 months after the injection, patients treated with botulinum toxin had an average of 1.6 fewer migraine attacks per month, compared to those treated with an inactive placebo.
In addition, the improvement was apparent less than 2 months after treatment with botulinum toxin. To maintain the effects of treatment, botulinum toxin injections should generally be repeated every 3 months. But botulinum toxin is also effective in patients with episodic migraines, with visible improvement within 2 months.
An improvement in the quality of life
Importantly, botox is not just helpful in treating migraines, as scientists have noted in patients a significant improvement in the quality of life of patients, with a reduction in depressive symptoms. "This can be explained by the reduced impact of headaches and disability related to migraine, thus reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety," write Professor Chaput and his coauthors.
In France, it is estimated that 7 to 8 million people are affected by migraines in France, which is about 12% of the adult population and 5 to 10% of children. Painful, debilitating and often chronic, they can have sometimes significant repercussions on the socio-economic life of the people who suffer from it, in particular because they make painful any activity and often force them to lie in the dark in the hope that the pain disappears. Botox could therefore become, with other treatments currently under study, a therapeutic hope for patients suffering from severe migraines.
In fact, several hospitals, like Limoges, use botulinum toxin to treat chronic migraines. But, unlike the United States (in 2010) and the United Kingdom (in 2012), France has not yet granted marketing authorization for this treatment.