13th February 2017

Botox for chronic migraine approved in Scotland

Health service in Scotland reverses its refusal to fund Botox treatment for migraine sufferers

Scottish flagThe Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has today approved the use of botulinum toxin type A (Botox) for the treatment of chronic migraine for routine use by NHS Scotland. Chronic migraineurs in Scotland who meet the eligibility criteria will now be able to access the treatment on the NHS. If you think you may be eligible, contact your GP or health professional to discuss your circumstances.

Scroll down to read our press release.

“We welcome the decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium to approve Botox as a treatment for chronic migraine. 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. Although today’s decision is positive, the Scottish Parliament and NHS Scotland must still commit to do more to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from headache and migraine in Scotland receive the best possible care throughout the health system.” Hannah Verghese, Advocacy, Policy and Campaigns Manager at The Migraine Trust
"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.” Dr Alok Tyagi, Consultant Neurologist, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow

Press release

Charity welcomes migraine Botox ruling

‘Now boost aid for all Scottish sufferers’ call

Campaigners today acclaimed a decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium to lift its ban on funding Botox treatment for people who face chronic migraine.

The announcement falls into line with the situation in England and Wales, where the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence approved its use to help prevent attacks.

Until now the consortium gave cost effectiveness as the grounds for its stance against Botox.

The U-turn follows a submission to the SMC, by the leading charity The Migraine Trust, which cited evidence from clinical trials to show Botox can benefit some chronic migraine sufferers and is licensed for treatment.

Tens of thousands of people in Scotland experience chronic migraine, its most disabling type.- more than 15 headache days a month over a three-month period, of which over eight are migraines, without medication overuse.

Research conducted by the charity revealed chronic migraine negatively affects sufferers north of the border over their employment life and ability to work, besides their family life and social life.

According to the study, chronic migraine harms employment opportunities and career progress, with many sufferers forced to give up work altogether.

Sufferers point to anxiety, depression, social isolation and the inability to plan activities, due to unpredictable attacks.

And Scotland plays a significant part in the 25 million days lost each year through migraine from UK work or school, cutting Britain’s economic size by £2.5 billion.

But those who benefit from Botox cite improvements in their ability to work and the quality of their lives.

The trust’s survey found current treatment satisfies less than one in five (19%) chronic migraine sufferers in Scotland, with more than half (58%) dissatisfied.

Three in four sufferers (75%) have tried at least five medications or treatments.

Hannah Verghese, the charity’s advocacy, policy and campaigns manager, said: “We welcome the consortium’s decision to approve Botox as a treatment for chronic migraine.

“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.”

But, with many lives still blighted among nearly three quarters of a million migraine sufferers in Scotland, the charity stressed the need for more improvements in health services.

Migraine, while more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined, remains the least public-funded of all neurological illnesses, relative to its economic impact.

And the World Health Organisation considers migraine to be a potentially disabling health condition.

Ms Verghese said: “Although today’s decision is positive, the Scottish Parliament and NHS Scotland must still commit to do more to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from headache and migraine in Scotland receive the best possible care throughout the health system.”

Notes to editors

Press contact: Paul Collins (Press Office, The Migraine Trust) 07703 605784 or use our contact form.

Interviews: Available – Scottish Botox migraine patient Elaine Bell, Glasgow neurologist Dr Alok Tyagi and Hannah Verghese, advocacy, policy and campaigns manager at the leading charity The Migraine Trust.

For immediate use: Monday, 13 February 2017

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