NHS Scotland is taking a radical new approach to the treatment of migraines by using Botox to assist patients.
The substance will only be used for those struggling with chronic migraines.
Campaigners have called for this move for some time, and it is believed that the decision could have a significantly positive impact on the treatment of migraines in Scotland.
Patients involved with the treatment will receive injections of the toxin on the face, head and neck every 12 weeks.
Around 4,000 people in Scotland should be eligible for this treatment on an annual basis, with 12 months’ worth of treatment costing around £1,400.
Scotland had left behind the rest of the UK in the usage of Botox, with the practice already common in other British nations.
Migraine patients in England and Wales have had access to the treatment since 2012.
Dr Alok Tyagi, a consultant neurologist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow commented on at the issue, suggesting that it is a positive move for Scotland.
“We welcome this decision. The routine availability of this treatment will lead to a significantly improved quality of life for patients reducing their unnecessary suffering, use of NHS resources and days missed from work.”
While Hannah Verghese, advocacy, policy and campaigns manager at The Migraine Trust, also welcomed the decision.
“Increasing the number of treatment options for people with this highly debilitating and disabling condition offers the prospect of reduced pain, reduced social isolation and a greater quality of life, particularly for those who find the current available treatment options ineffective.”
Nonetheless, Verghese believes that there is still far more for NHS Scotland to do in order to address this debilitating health condition.
Although it is known that Botox can have a positive impact over the pain associated with migraines, it is not known why the treatment actually works.
It is believed, though, that Botox possibly reduces the level of blood pressure to the brain.
Responding to the decision to green light the usage of Botox for migraine treatment in Scotland, Professor Jonathan Fox, chairman of the SMC, indicated that this new approach will benefit many patients.
“For those suffering with chronic migraine for which other treatments have not been effective, botulinum toxin type A (Botox) fulfils an unmet need.”