The following press release about the Institute for Women's Health Research at Northwestern University was issued today. If you want to learn more about us and what we are doing, check the link.
On October 15, 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Botox injection (onabotulinumtoxinA) to prevent headaches in adult patients with chronic migraine. Chronic migraine is defined as having a history of migraine and experiencing a headache on most days of the month. it is estimated that about 6% of men and 18% of women suffer from migraine headaches during any given year.
“Chronic migraine is one of the most disabling forms of headache,” said Russell Katz, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Patients with chronic migraine experience a headache more than 14 days of the month. This condition can greatly affect family, work, and social life, so it is important to have a variety of effective treatment options available.”
Migraine headaches are described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head. The headaches are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine is three times more common in women than in men. Migraine usually begins with intermittent headache attacks 14 days or fewer each month (episodic migraine), but some patients go on to develop the more disabling chronic migraine.
To treat chronic migraines, Botox is given approximately every 12 weeks as multiple injections around the head and neck to try to dull future headache symptoms. Botox has not been shown to work for the treatment of migraine headaches that occur 14 days or less per month, or for other forms of headache. It is important that patients discuss with their physician whether Botox is appropriate for them.
The most common adverse reactions reported by patients being treated for chronic migraine were neck pain and headache (NOTE from this blogger: FDA should define what kind of headache---treat migraine headaches with a medicine that may cause headaches???).
OnabotulinumtoxinA, marketed as Botox and Botox Cosmetic, has a boxed warning that says the effects of the botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism. Those symptoms include swallowing and breathing difficulties that can be life-threatening. There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect when Botox has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, or strabismus, or when Botox Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to improve frown lines.
The Illinois Women's Health Registry is currently featured on the Northwestern University homepage. To read the latest article about the Registry go to http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2010/03/registry.html. And you if you live in Illinois, sign up for the Registry!
Yes, I'm tooting our own horn - but only because it's pretty darn exciting! The Institute's very own director Dr. Teresa Woodruff (a.k.a. my esteemed advisor) and members of our lab have been in the news for a research article that was just published online this week. A major part of our research focuses on developing and improving on methods for three-dimensional culture of ovarian follicles, the compartments of the ovary which individually house the all-important eggs. Our lab is hoping to establish this technique as a new option in women's fertility preservation, which currently consists of methods such as freezing of ovarian tissue or performing emergency IVF. We will definitely post more on fertility preservation in the near future since it is becoming an important decision for an increasing number of women and the Institute is within a hub of fertility preservation not only in research, but also in clinical practice.
But for now, I'll post a couple news articles about the lab's recent accomplishments here and expand in future posts. Enjoy (and don't forget to post your comments)!