We studied the safety and efficacy of 0 U, 50 U, 100 U, 150 U (five sites), 86 Usub and 100 Usub (three sites) botulinum toxin type A (BoNTA; BOTOX); Allergan, Inc., Irvine, CA, USA) for the prophylaxis of chronic tension-type headache (CTTH). Three hundred patients (62.3% female; mean age 42.6 years) enrolled. For the primary endpoint, the mean change from baseline in the number of TTH-free days per month, there was no statistically significant difference between placebo and four BoNTA groups, but a significant difference favouring placebo vs. BoNTA 150 was observed (4.5 vs. 2.8 tension headache-free days/month; P = 0.007). All treatment groups improved at day 60. Although efficacy was not demonstrated for the primary endpoint, at day 90, more patients in three BoNTA groups had >or=50% decrease in tension headache days than did placebo (P <or= 0.024). Most treatment-related adverse events were mild or moderate, and transient. BoNTA was safe and well-tolerated in the study.