UCI Health pain management expert uses Botox to treat migraines in children

February 26, 2019
UCI Health pain management specialist Dr. Shalini Shah
UCI Health pain management specialist Dr. Shalini Shah.

IN THE NEWS: UCI Health anesthesiologist Dr. Shalini Shah discussed her use of Botox to manage migraine pain in children with Spectrum News 1.

Shah, chief of pain services for UCI Health, is running a clinical trial to determine whether the injectable, originally marketed for cosmetic use, might alleviate migraine pain in children, as it does for adults. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for use in adults in 2010 but has not authorized it for pediatric patients.

Spectrum News 1 reporter Jo Kwon interviewed Shah and Erin Norris, a teenager who has suffered with debilitating headaches. As a result, Norris has missed weeks of school and has been unable to play in school sports she enjoys, like competitive club soccer

“It felt like my eyes were going to pop out of my head, kind of throbbing. Like a drum being beaten behind my eyes,” says Norris. “There’s just no stopping it.”

Since starting the treatment, Norris says her migraines have decreased from about 20 per month to two. She receives injections every two months, or so.

“After my first treatment, I immediately felt so much better,” says Norris.

Shah hopes that the trial, when completed in a few months, will show the drug’s effectiveness. If the FDA approves it for use in children, insurance may cover the treatments. 

“So far we haven’t found any major adverse events,” says Shah, assistant clinical professor of anesthesiology in the UCI School of Medicine. “Overwhelmingly, we have found that it’s positive for the indication of reducing the strength of migraines.” 

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