AHS 2017 Meeting: Non-Invasive Medical Devices Show Promise for Severe Headaches


Results from studies presented at the American Headache Society Annual Meeting in Boston suggest that non-invasive medical devices offer effective interventions for individuals with migraine.

New findings from a randomized, placebo-controlled study showing that non-invasive caloric vestibular stimulation (nCVS) can prevent episodic migraine. The vestibular organs comprise the sensory system within the inner ear and provide balance control and spatial orientation. Patients who used the nCVS device for two 18-minute sessions daily reported 1.8 fewer migraines after one month compared to what they experienced before the study (at baseline), and 3.3 fewer migraines vs. baseline after three months, the primary endpoint.

Another study showed the benefits of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (gammaCore, electroCore LLC) in episodic headache. The results were from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial called ACT2, which included 30 participants with episodic cluster headaches and 72 with chronic cluster headaches. The study showed that eight times as many patients with episodic cluster headaches achieved pain-free status after 15 minutes with use of gammaCore compared to a sham device: 48 percent vs. six percent, respectively.  There was no significant difference in the primary endpoint between gammaCore and the sham device among participants who had chronic cluster headaches.


For more insight on the role of non-invasive neurostimulation in migraine care, read Dr. Stewart Tepper’s article in the most recent edition of Practical Neurology®


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Launched in January 2002, Practical Neurology strives to enhance quality of care and improve the daily operation of neurology practices. Each month, our experts explain the real-world significance of recent advances in neurologic science and offer step-by-step advice on how to overcome the clinical and business challenges neurologists face. Our straightforward, how-to articles give neurologists tools they can put into practice right away.