Nerve Stimulation Device May Reduce Migraines

September 9, 2013 · Posted in Potential Treatments · Comment 

the Cefaly deviceMigraine headaches are a neurological condition in which throbbing headaches (usually on one side of the head) are accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light or sound. A recent study suggests that a device worn as a headband that can stimulate the trigeminal nerve through the skin can reduce incidence of migraines. The device, called Cefaly, is produced by Belgian company STX-Med.

In the randomized controlled study by Schoenen et al. published in Neurology this year, using the device for 20 minutes a day for 3 months reduced migraine days by 25% and reduced migraine attacks by 19%. Sixty-seven patients who had at least 2 migraines per month were randomized to receive either treatment with the Cefaly device or a sham stimulation that caused a tingling sensation without stimulating the trigeminal nerve.

Schoenen told Medscape Medical News that the device may be a useful addition to current treatments, and has the benefit of not producing side effects.

The device is already available in Europe, Canada, and several South American and Middle Eastern countries. It is currently awaiting approval in the US. In those countries where it is approved, it does not require a prescription and can be bought directly by a patient at a cost of €295 or $299 (CAD).