Botox helps post-traumatic headaches in soldiers

Botox appears to be effective for the treatment of chronic post-traumatic headaches in service Members with a history of mild traumatic brain injury according to a recent report by Dr. Juanita Yerry and her colleagues at Ft. Bragg, NC. The researchers assessed the safety of onabotulinum toxin type A (Botox) in the preventive care of post traumatic headache. Headache is a common complication of mild traumatic brain injury in active duty service members. Migraine and chronic migraine type are the most common headache types. The approved use of Botox in chronic migraine made the doctors think that Botox might be safe and possibly effective in post-traumatic headaches with features of chronic migraines. They examined records of all patients treated with Botox for post-traumatic headache in the Concussion Care Clinic at Womack Army Medical Center, Ft. Bragg, NC between 2008 and 2012. They recorded patient demographics, prior history of headache, injury type, current headache type, time from injury to first injection, treatment techniques, number of treatments/treatment interval, side effects, reasons for discontinuation and Patient Global Evaluation of Change (PGEC). Out of 67 patients (66 male) who were treated 10% had prior history of headaches. Most common injuries were blast (46.3%), parachute jumps (14.9%) and motor vehicle accidents (11.9%). About 56% reported more than one headache type. Headache types included: chronic migraine (22.4%), episodic migraine (7.5%), chronic tension type (7.5%), hemicrania continua (7.5%), nummular (1.5%); mixed tension/chronic migraine (41.8%), and tension/migraine (7.5%). A very large percentage (75%) had a continuous headache. Reasons for discontinuing Botox treatment included ineffectiveness (44.8%), side effects (2.9%), or reinjury (1.5%). They were not able to follow-up with 22% patients of whom 73.3% reported being “much better”. Overall, 60% were better or much better, 4.5% were worse or much worse, and 33% reported no change. The researchers concluded that Botox appears to be safe and well tolerated in active duty service members treated for post-traumatic headaches.

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