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Botox wins NICE-backing as a migraine treatment

Allergan provides more data to appease NICE concerns about the drug's benefits

The UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued final draft guidance recommending that Allergan's Botox injection can be used by the NHS in England and Wales to treat headaches related to chronic migraine.

NICE had previously been resistant to recommend the drug, best known as a cosmetic wrinkle treatment, for the condition in previous guidance until Allergan provide more data proving the benefits of Botox.

The drug is now one step closer to being available for adult patients with chronic migraine whose condition has not responded to taking at least three prior preventative medications or whose condition has been appropriately managed for medication overuse.

“Chronic migraines are extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person's quality of life,” said Professor Carole Longson, director of the health technology evaluation centre at NICE.

“We are pleased that the committee has been able to recommend Botox as a preventative therapy for those adults whose headaches have not improved despite trying at least three other medications and whose headaches are not caused by medication overuse.”

The guidance comes with a recommendation that treatment with Botox should be stopped if the person's headaches have not improved enough after two treatment cycles, or if the number of days a person experiences a headache is reduced to fewer than 15 days a month over three consecutive months.

This is because a person's condition would have changed from chronic migraine to episodic migraine, which is not covered by Allergan's licence for Botox in Europe.

11th May 2012

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