People who suffer with severe migraines will now be offered Botox injections free on the NHS, to try and combat the condition; the anti-aging drug has been provisionally approved for treatment of headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Around 700,000 people struggle with chronic migraine symptoms in the UK – which is defined as having a headache every other day or a full migraine for at least eight days out of the month.
The procedure involves administering Botox to the head and neck, which then relaxes the muscles and paralyses the areas of tissue that trigger migraines. In February this year a study was published stating that there was not enough evidence to show that the injections worked in this capacity, but drugs rationing body NICE (National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence) made a dramatic U-turn on the subject and the treatment will become available provisionally in June – after the final guidelines have been completed.
At about £350 a time, the thirty injections are provided as a top-up service every three months or so, which works out at about £1,400 a year for every patient who receives them as part of on-going treatment for migraines; a price which most would agree is not too much to deal with this debilitating illness. It has been recommended that Botox be used only after at least three other medications have not helped alleviate the condition – initial research has suggested that 70% of patients have seen a 50% reduction in migraine symptoms.