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Long-term Treatment Benefits and Prolonged Efficacy of OnabotulinumtoxinA in Patients Affected by Chronic Migraine and Medication Overuse Headache Over 3 Years of Therapy


Long-term Treatment Benefits and Prolonged Efficacy of OnabotulinumtoxinA in Patients Affected by Chronic Migraine and Medication Overuse Headache Over 3 Years of Therapy

Simona Guerzoni et al. Front Neurol.


Background: Chronic migraine (CM) affects about the 2% of the general population and it has been recognized as one of the most-disabling conditions worldwide by the World Health Organization. CM is often associated with the overuse of abortive medication, which determines the worsening of headache itself and the development of a secondary headache called medication overuse headache. The management of these associated conditions is difficult, but a growing amount of evidence is pointing out the effectiveness and the good safety profile of OnabotulinumtoxinA (OnabotA). Despite this, data on OnabotA effects and safety in long-term use lack. The purpose of the present article is to retrospectively assess the efficacy and safety of OnabotA in a cohort of chronic migraineurs with drug overuse from the 18th month of treatment until the third year.

Materials and methods: 90 chronic migraineurs with medication overuse were enrolled between January 2013 and February 2017. All patients were treated with OnabotA according to PREEMPT dictates. Before every injection session the headache index, the analgesic consumption, the visual analog scale for pain score, the 36-items short form health survey questionnaire score, the 6-items headache impact test (HIT-6) score and the Zung self-rating anxiety and depression scale scores were collected. Adverse events were carefully registered. A simple linear regression was performed to explore the mean changes in the abovementioned parameters for a single injection session and mean comparison tests were performed using the one-way analysis of variance followed by Tukey-Kramer post-hoc test.

Results: A significantly improvement for a single injection was registered for all the above-mentioned parameters. Headache index, analgesic consumption, visual analog pain scale, and 6-items HIT-6 scores were significantly lower than baseline from the 18th month of treatment onwards. The 36-items short form health survey questionnaire scores were significantly higher than baseline at every injections session from the 18th months onwards. Zung scales did not change. No serious adverse events were assessed and no adverse events-related drop-outs were seen.

Conclusion: OnabotA effectiveness and safety last until 3 years of therapy, raising the possibility of the use of this therapy even for many years in CM prevention.

Keywords: OnabotulinumtoxinA; chronic migraine; headache; long-term treatment; medication overuse headache; quality of life; tolerance.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Sub-graphs indicate the means and the relative 95% confidence intervals of the explored parameters, despite the ZUNGA and ZUNGD scores, for every injection session. In particular, the trend of the following outcome has been represented: mean headache days over 30 days 492 (sub-graph A), mean number of abortive medications taken every day (sub-graph B), visual analog scale for pain score (sub-graph C), 6-items headache impact test score (sub-493 graph D), SF-36 physical score (sub-graph E), and SF-36 mental score (sub-graph F). *mean number of abortive medications taken every day.

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