Key secondary endpoints included Physician Global Assessment, finger flexors muscle tone, and thumb flexors tone at Week 6. The Physician Global Assessment evaluated the response to treatment in terms of how the patient was doing in his/her life using a scale from -4 = very marked worsening to +4 = very marked improvement. Study 1 results on the primary endpoint and the key secondary endpoints are shown in Table 26.
Our advice: if you’re going to try it, don’t give up on Botox for Migraine after the first try, and reconsider whether you’re a good candidate after three tries. Both Drs. Jackson and Kornel noted that there was a large placebo effect seen in many of the studies. “It’s hard to know if most of the benefit was from the drug or from the placebo effect,” said Jackson, who added, “but, patients don’t care if it’s a placebo effect.”
When I wean patients off of treatment, I do not change the dose but rather delay the treatment cycle to 16 weeks and monitor headaches in the last 4 weeks. If the patient remains well-controlled, I increase the treatment window to 20 weeks, and so on. I use this method to establish the level at which patients need reinjection to prevent breakthrough headaches.11-13
Recently, there have been concerns about retrograde botulinum toxin transmission, meaning that the toxin could travel back to the central nervous system, causing long-term damage. Studies done in Italy by Flavia Antonucci have been mainly on a raw form of the toxin and not any of the commercially available preparations. Additionally, these studies have been performed on animals and with the injection of the toxin to one area and in a concentration of nearly 150 times greater than normal injections for cosmetic indications, which are spread over multiple sites.
I was lucky. My health insurance only required me to try and fail two other less expensive migraine medications, and it didn’t dictate how long I had to try them for before giving up. Other insurers have stricter rules: Aetna, for example, requires patients to try at least three medications for at least two months each. HealthPartners also requires patients to try and fail three medications, such as beta blockers and antidepressants, without specifying for how long. (Requirements may vary by state and policy.) Because these migraine drugs are designed to treat other conditions like high blood pressure and depression, they can have serious side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and difficulty in thinking and speaking clearly.