A new form of migraine treatment, using magnetic stimulation of the brain, has been shown to prevent attacks — cutting frequency of the sometimes-debilitating headaches by half.
The technique involves what’s known as single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) — a technology developed by eNeura Inc., a medical technology company.
In a new study, published in the medical journal Cephalalgia, eNeura’s sTIMS device device reduced the frequency of migraine attacks in a group of more than 200 sufferers by about three days per month. That translates to a 50-percent reduction of monthly migraines in nearly half of the patients in the study.
STMS works by inducing a mild electric current that modulates nerve cells in the brain. Scientists believe the pulses may interrupt the brain hyperactivity associated with migraines. The device is portable, causes no pain, and treatments take just a few seconds.
Patients place the device at the back of the head, and push a button to self-administer a focused magnetic pulse to treat a migraine attack and or to prevent the onset of future migraine attacks.
STMS, available by prescription only, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine treatment and prevention last year. The latest study was a follow-up clinical trial conducted to confirm the device’s safety and effectiveness. STMS also has been approved in Europe for the acute treatment of migraine and migraine prevention.
In the latest study, researchers said participants experienced no serious side effects from the treatment. The most common side effects were minor, and included lightheadedness (3.7 percent), tingling (3.2 percent), and tinnitus (3.2 percent).
“This open label study suggests that sTMS may be an effective, well-tolerated treatment option for migraine prevention,” the researchers concluded.
David K. Rosen, president and CEO of eNeura, called the treatment a “breakthrough for migraine headache patients.”
He added: “Until now, migraine patients in the U.S. had to use multiple pharmaceutical products, each with potentially unpleasant side-effects, to manage both the challenge of preventing headache and treating acute headache attacks. [STMS is now labeled to address the entire spectrum of migraine with an easy-to-use device, that in multiple clinical studies, has proven to be safe and effective.”
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