‘Phenomenal’ results for migraine sufferers after Botox
A leading consultant in pain medicine has described the results in migraine patients following Botox injections as ‘phenomenal’.
Dr Vivek Mehta, Consultant in Pain Medicine, said the treatments carried out at Holly House Hospital are leading to less frequent migraines for sufferers – in one case by up to 90 per cent - as well as a notable reduction in the severity and duration of the attacks.
The treatments have been introduced as a service at Holly House Hospital following provisional approval from health guidance body NICE* last year. Botox is commonly associated with its use in cosmetic treatments to temporarily freeze facial muscles and improve the appearance of frown lines and wrinkles. But, clinical studies showed Botox was significantly more effective than a placebo in reducing headache frequency, while the effect of the injections compared with a placebo can result in up to 26 fewer migraines a year. In the outcome data of more than 1,300 patients, nearly half of patients (47%) who received Botox reported a 50% or higher decrease in headache days by 24 weeks following the treatment.
“The treatment works by blocking the transmission of pain through the nerve fibres in the area which is injected,” said Dr Mehta. “Patients are referred to Holly House from their doctors and we have also taken some referrals from Harley Street. Eligible patients are those who suffer from chronic migraines – this means if they have headaches for more than 15 days in a two to three month-period or more than four severe attacks in a month. The results have been phenomenal, with patients reporting not just reduced frequency of the migraines but also, when they do strike, the headaches are less painful and do not last as long.”
Nick Mather, a TV producer from Islington, underwent the treatment after suffering from painful tension headaches for seven years. The 35-year-old says the treatment has ‘changed his life’ by reducing the number of migraines by ’90 per cent’ and lessening their intensity and duration.
“I was suffering from tension headaches where it felt like I had a very tight band around my head that gradually constricted and got tighter and tighter,” he explained. “At their worst I was getting them almost every day and they were affecting my ability to sleep. I have tried other treatments, including taking two types of medication for them for the last six years, but when I could feel an attack coming on I often knew the tablets weren’t going to make that much difference, the migraines were that painful. Dr Mehta suggested I tried the Botox treatment and to be honest I didn’t really hold out much hope – but it has been brilliant. I know it won’t totally eradicate the headaches, as Dr Mehta explained, but I’d say I am suffering from 90 per cent less attacks. The other benefit is knowing that when I do get a migraine, they won’t last as long or be as bad.”
Added Nick: “I only started on the treatment relatively recently and will go for another injection every three months, but I have already been able to halve the amount of one of the drugs I was taking and we’re expecting to be able to reduce the dosage of the other tablets, too. My hope is that in the long term I will only need an injection once a year and the Botox will mean I’ve found an effective and drug-free solution to my headaches.”
This is just one of a number of new services being introduced at Holly House as a result of the multi-million pound redevelopment which has seen the hospital double in size. The new facility includes a purpose-built outpatients department with 23 consulting rooms, pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic, and pathology lab as well as three new integrated theatres. Holly House Hospital,a member of Aspen Healthcare, welcomes both insured patients and those choosing to pay for their own treatments. We also offers some services to patients on behalf of the NHS.
*National Institute for Clinical Excellence