Subcutaneous histamine versus botulinum toxin type A in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized, double-blind study

Eur J Neurol. 2009 Jan;16(1):88-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2008.02352.x.


Objectives: To compare the efficacy and tolerability of the subcutaneous administration of histamine and botulinum toxin type A (BoNTA) in migraine prophylaxis.

Background: Histamine has a selective affinity for H3 receptors and it may specifically inhibit the neurogenic edema response involved in migraine pathophysiology.

Methods: One hundred patients with migraine were selected in a 12-week double-blind controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of subcutaneous administration of histamine (1-10 ng twice a week) n = 50, compared with administration of 50 U of BoNTA (one injection cycle) n = 50.

Results: The data collected during the 4th week of treatment revealed a significant decrease in all parameters studied, in histamine and BoNTA (P < 0.001). After 4 weeks of treatment, but one injection cycle of 50 U BoNTA had only a 40-day period of efficacy.

Conclusions: This randomized study demonstrated that both histamine and BoNTA are similarly effective and well tolerated in reducing or eliminating headache in migraine prophylaxis. Low doses of histamine applied subcutaneously may represent a novel and effective therapeutic alternative in migraine patients and lay the clinical and pharmacological groundwork for the use of H3 agonist in migraine prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / administration & dosage*
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Histamine / administration & dosage*
  • Histamine / adverse effects
  • Histamine Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Histamine Agonists / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular / methods
  • Injections, Subcutaneous / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Neuromuscular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuromuscular Agents / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Histamine Agonists
  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Histamine
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A