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Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds
Date:4/25/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Botox is considered a preventive medication for debilitating migraine headaches, but a new review finds that it may only help people with chronic migraines or chronic daily headaches. And, even then, the effect appears to only be "small to modest."

The review found that Botox (botulinum toxin A) was no help for people with episodic migraines (fewer than 15 a month) or chronic tension-type headaches.

"Our analyses suggest that botulinum toxin A may be associated with improvement in the frequency of chronic migraine and chronic daily headaches, but not with improvement in the frequency of episodic migraine, chronic tension-type headaches or episodic tension-type headaches. However, the association of botulinum toxin A with clinical benefit was small," wrote the authors of the review.

Still, the review's lead author, Dr. Jeffrey Jackson, said, "If I was having more than 15 migraines a month, I'd give Botox a try. It has few side effects. And, if it helps, you can go 90 days without as many headaches and without daily side effects." Jackson is a professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Results of the review are published in the April 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than 40 percent of adults experience tension-type headaches at some point in their lives, according to background information in the article. Between 8 and 18 percent of adults have had migraines.

Treatment for these serious headaches fall into two general classes: abortive or preventive. The abortive medications are faster-acting, and can help stop a migraine or its symptoms while it's occurring. Preventive medications are taken to stop the headaches from occurring in the first place.

Botox's effect on migraines was discovered coincidentally when people who were having Botox injec
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