Final draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend Botox for patients with chronic migraines when other drugs have failed.
Botox recommended for patients with chronic migraines
Migraines are extreme headaches that often come with nausea and being very sensitive to light or sound. To have chronic migraines, a patient must have headaches on at least 15 days a month, eight of which have to be migraines.
It is estimated that this condition affects less than 1 per cent of the population, but this still means that there over 610,000 chronic migraine sufferers in the UK.
The therapy, which uses a purified version of botulinum toxin A, blocks overactive nerve impulses which trigger excessive muscle contractions.
Botox was approved as a treatment for chronic migraine in the UK in 2010, meaning patients could access it by paying privately.
According to the charity Migraine Action, sufferers will pay around £400-£600 a time for private treatment with Botox. A vial of the drug costing around £300 should be given as 31 injections in the forehead, temples, neck and shoulders. One treatment might break the cycle of pain, or top-ups might be required every three months.
NICE is now considering whether the NHS should fund the treatment, after asking the manufacturer Allergan to provide more proof of evidence. The final guidelines are expected in June. NICE estimated the cost to the NHS would be £349.40 for every 12-week cycle of treatment.
Wendy Thomas, the chief executive of The Migraine Trust, welcomed the decision, saying: "Chronic migraine is a disabling condition and in many cases ruins people's lives.
"For patients who suffer from this condition, Botox may offer a safe and effective preventative treatment option to help them manage their migraine and improve their quality of life."
Unfortunately, since these migraines are considered a chronic condition, health insurance may not cover the cost of Botox treatment. For more information compare health insurance quotes or speak to one of our advisors to find out more.
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