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Also in the press

Botox approved to treat chronic migraines; rise in NHS's spend on sleeping pills; testosterone could help men lose weight; and survey reveals 4 in 10 women who became unintentionally pregnant had problems getting contraception

OnMedica staff

Friday, 11 May 2012


The Times on Friday covers NICE's decision to approve Botox injections on the NHS to treat chronic migraines. (p23)

The paper reports that the draft guidance from NICE recommends botulinum toxin type A, after other drugs have not worked, as a treatment for migraine. If approved at the final stage, the article reports that the treatment could be available for free in specialist clinics within months.

Patients currently pay around 600 pounds for a private treatment with the neurotoxin, which blocks overactive nerve impulses that trigger excessive muscle contractions.

The Times quotes Dr Mark Weatherall, a consultant neurologist at Charing Cross Hospital and a trustee of the Migraine Trust, who says the treatment "is not a panacea, it's not a miracle. But some people do respond really well to it."

NICE estimates the treatment if approved costs the NHS 349.40 pounds per 12-week cycle, according to the paper.

A final decision from NICE is due in June and NHS bodies must allocate funding for the new treatment within three months if approved, according to the article.


The Daily Mail (p1) and The Daily Telegraph (p6) report in a short article that there has been a sharp increase in the amount England's NHS spends on sleeping pills.

In its article the Daily Mail reports that Britain has become "a nation of sleeping pill addicts", reporting that most common side effects are liver problems, headaches and nausea.

In 2010-11, the country's 52 primary care trusts spent 49.2 million pounds on sleeping pills, a rise of 17% in four years.

Pharmacies dispensed more than 15.2 million prescriptions to aid sleep, roughly one for every three adults.

Mandeep Mudhar, NHS business director at the Co-operative Pharmacy, said the recession was likely to have made people more anxious and resulted in the increased prevalence of sleep problems.

The Times (p23) covers the same story and takes a very similar angle, adding that England's Department of Health has committed 400 million pounds over the next four years to improve access to talking therapies as an alternative to sleeping pills.


The Times (p23) briefly reports that testosterone supplements could help men lose weight after a study found injections of the sex hormone could provoke substantial weight loss and help obese and overweight men lose inches from the waistline.


The Daily Telegraph briefly reports (p12) that four in 10 women who became unintentionally pregnant had problems getting contraception, according to a survey by the British Pregnancy Advice Service.

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