Botulinum toxin type a for the prophylaxis of chronic daily headache: subgroup analysis of patients not receiving other prophylactic medications: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study

David W Dodick, Alexander Mauskop, Arthur H Elkind, Ronald DeGryse, Mitchell F Brin, Stephen D Silberstein
Headache 2005, 45 (4): 315-24

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy and safety of botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A; BOTOX, Allergan, Inc., Irvine, CA) for the prophylaxis of headaches in patients with chronic daily headache (CDH) without the confounding factor of concurrent prophylactic medications.

BACKGROUND: Several open-label studies and an 11-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggest that BoNT-A may be an effective therapy for the prophylaxis of headaches in patients with CDH.

DESIGN AND METHODS: This was a subgroup analysis of an 11-month, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of BoNT-A for the treatment of adult patients with 16 or more headache days per 30-day periods conducted at 13 North American study centers. All patients had a history of migraine or probable migraine. This analysis involved data for patients who were not receiving concomitant prophylactic headache medication and who constituted 64% of the full study population. Following a 30-day screening period and a 30-day single-blind, placebo injection, eligible patients were injected with BoNT-A or placebo and assessed every 30 days for 9 months The following efficacy measures were analyzed per 30-day periods: change from baseline in number of headache-free days; change from baseline in headache frequency; proportion of patients with at least 30% or at least 50% decrease from baseline in headache frequency; and change from baseline in mean headache severity. Acute medication use was assessed, and adverse events were recorded at each study visit.

RESULTS: Of the 355 patients randomized in the study, 228 (64%) were not taking prophylactic medication and were included in this analysis (117 received BoNT-A, 111 received placebo injections). Mean age was 42.4+/-10.90 years; the mean frequency of headaches per 30 days at baseline was 14.1 for the BoNT-A group and 12.9 for the placebo group (P=.205). After two injection sessions, the maximum change in the mean frequency of headaches per 30 days was -7.8 in the BoNT-A group compared with only -4.5 in the placebo group (P=.032), a statistically significant between-group difference of 3.3 headaches. The between-group difference favoring BoNT-A treatment continued to improve to 4.2 headaches after a third injection session (P=.023). In addition, BoNT-A treatment at least halved the frequency of baseline headaches in over 50% of patients after three injection sessions compared to baseline. Statistically significant differences between BoNT-A and placebo were evident for the change from baseline in headache frequency and headache severity for most time points from day 180 through day 270. Only 5 patients (4 patients receiving BoNT-A treatment; 1 patient receiving placebo) discontinued the study due to adverse events and most treatment-related events were transient and mild to moderate in severity.

CONCLUSIONS: BoNT-A is an effective and well-tolerated prophylactic treatment in migraine patients with CDH who are not using other prophylactic medications.

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