Prophylactic onabotulinumtoxinA in patients with chronic migraine and comorbid depression: An open-label, multicenter, pilot study of efficacy, safety and effect on headache-related disability, depression, and anxiety

Int J Gen Med. 2015 Feb 18;8:79-86. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S70456. eCollection 2015.


Background: Chronic migraine is associated with significant headache-related disability and psychiatric comorbidity. OnabotulinumtoxinA (BOTOX(®)) is effective and well tolerated in the prophylactic treatment of chronic migraine. This study aimed to provide preliminary data on the efficacy and safety of prophylactic onabotulinumtoxinA in patients with chronic migraine and comorbid depressive symptoms.

Methods: This was a prospective, open-label, multicenter pilot study. Eligible patients met International Classification of Headache Disorders 2nd edition Revision criteria for chronic migraine and had associated depressive symptoms, including Patient Health Questionnaire depression module scores of 5-19. Eligible participants received 155 units of onabotulinumtoxinA, according to the PREEMPT protocol, at baseline and week 12. Assessments included headache frequency, the Headache Impact Test™, the Migraine Disability Assessment, the Beck Depression Inventory(®)-II, the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire depression module, and the seven-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder questionnaire. Adverse events were also monitored.

Results: Overall, 32 participants received treatment. At week 24, there were statistically significant mean (standard deviation [SD]) improvements relative to baseline in the number of headache/migraine-free days (+8.2 [5.8]) (P<0.0001) and in the number of headache/migraine days (-8.2 [5.8]) (P<0.0001) per 30-day period. In addition, there were significant improvements in Headache Impact Test scores (-6.3 [6.9]) (P=0.0001) and Migraine Disability Assessment scores (-44.2 [67.5]) (P=0.0058). From baseline to week 24, statistically significant improvements were also seen in Beck Depression Inventory-II (-7.9 [6.0]) (P<0.0001), Patient Health Questionnaire depression module (-4.3 [4.7]) (P<0.0001), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder questionnaire (-3.5 [5.0]) (P=0.0002) scores. No serious adverse events were reported. Adverse events considered related to treatment occurred in 30% of patients and were mild or moderate.

Conclusion: Prophylactic onabotulinumtoxinA was well tolerated in patients with chronic migraine and comorbid depression, and was effective in reducing headache frequency, impact, and related disability, which led to statistically significant improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms.

Keywords: comorbid anxiety; headache-related disability; migraine prophylaxis.