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Curr Rev Pain. 2000;4(1):31-5.

A comparative trial of botulinum toxin type A and methylprednisolone for the treatment of tension-type headache.

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Pain Center, Department of Neurology, Policlinico San Marco, Centro Terapia del Dolore, Corso Europa 7, 24040 Zingonia/Bergamo, Italy.


Tension-type headache (TH) is a common condition, the pathophysiology of which remains undetermined. Evidence implicates sustained contraction of pericranial muscles to be a major cause. A recent preliminary study demonstrated the effectiveness of botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) in patients suffering from chronic TH. To further investigate this, we performed a study to compare the efficacy of BTX-A with the steroid methylprednisolone (both administered with the local anesthetic lidocaine), when administered by injection into the tender points of cranial muscles in patients with TH. A significant decrease in the median pain score (assessed using a standard visual analogue scale ) was observed at 60 days post injection of BTX-A compared with the pain score achieved following steroid therapy. All patients treated with BTX-A experienced a gradual decrease in median pain severity scores at 30 days and 60 days post treatment. The beneficial effects of BTX-A therapy continued to improve 60 days following injection, whereas the effects of steroid therapy at this time point began to decline. This study clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of BTX-A for the treatment of TH.

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