Got Migraines? Try Botox, Says Irvine Drugmaker

Got Migraines? Try Botox, Says Irvine Drugmaker

There's some good news and bad news for Allergan, Inc.

Bad news: The Irvine-based pharmaceutical company tops the list of Department of Justice fraud settlements in the 2010 fiscal year, having lost $600 million in an October lawsuit that accused them of marketing Botox for "off-label" uses.

Good news: Allergan's shares jumped more than 4 percent last week after the FDA approved the anti-wrinkle, housewife-obsessed wonder drug for use on chronic migraines. With predictions that the company could capture $600 million or more in additional annual sales from migraine sufferers, it's a wash.  

Headache experts have been using Botox for more than a decade, but there was no solid evidence supporting the practice until now. Allergan launched two clinical trials involving 1,384 migraine patients to satisfy the strict FDA criteria for adding a new use for the injections. The drug is said to work on those with headaches that last four hours a day or longer and 15 or more days per month. Injections are to be given around the head and neck to prevent or dull future migraines for up to three months.

Of course, we should add that it's uncertain which migraine patients will respond to Botox and that one possible side effect of the drug is ... chronic headaches.



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