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‘Botox really did stop me getting migraines’
A WOMAN who used botox to tackle her chronic migraines said she is thrilled the treatment could soon be available on the NHS.
Pam Mason, 46, suffered constant migraines for 30 years until she started paying £350 for the injections two years ago.
Now the UK’s drug watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), has recommended its use on the NHS.
The drug – taken from the botulinum toxin, which can cause botulism – is famous for combating wrinkles but campaigners have said it has also proved effective at tackling migraines.
It is not known how the drug’s neurotoxin prevents migraines but researchers believe it may work by blocking pain signals or relaxing muscles.
Mrs Mason, of Long Hanborough, said: “I am delighted about this. Having the botox treatment has changed my life beyond recognition.”
Her migraines were so painful Mrs Mason suffered bouts of vomiting and was bed-bound for days.
She said: “The pain was very debilitating. It affected every aspect of my life.”
Mrs Mason began having injections every eight to 12 weeks before eventually having surgery removing muscles from her face at a cost of £3,500.
She met Witney MP and Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby for the change.
The watchdog said botulinum toxin type A should only be used where other drugs have failed. Final guidelines will be issued in June after consultation.
Joanna Hamilton-Colclough, director of Migraine Action, said: “The announcement today will help these patients gain access to badly needed preventative treatment.”
Prof Carole Longson, director of the health technology evaluation centre at Nice, said: “We have published our final draft guidance so that registered stakeholders can highlight any factual errors or appeal against our provisional recommendations.
“We have not yet issued guidance to the NHS on the use of this drug.”
Once the final guidance has been published, the NHS must allocate funding for the use of botox as defined in the guidance within three months.
A spokesman for NHS Oxfordshire, the primary care trust that decides how health service money should be spent, said it was unable to comment until Nice’s guidance was finalised.