Transcranial magnetic stimulation a “breakthrough treatment” for migraine patients


In NHS guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has announced the results from clinical trials investigating a portable transcranial magnetic device for the treatment of migraine (SpringTMS, eNeura). The trials aimed to prevent or treat acute migraine among sufferers of pain, visual disturbance or sickness.

In one of the controlled trials, which included 164 patients who were treated with single transcranial magnetic stimulation for at least one attack of migraine with visual disturbance, it was found that 39% of patients experienced pain-free levels at two hours. The pain-free rate at 24 hours was 29% and at 48 hours, 27%.

In a separate study, three quarters of patients with migraine who were repeatedly treated with the transcranial magnetic device had a reduction in headache frequency, including those with chronic migraine.

According to a press release, the device may prove appropriate for those who find alternatives ineffective, or unsuitable, such as during pregnancy.

Peter Goadsby, chair of the British Association for the Study of Headache, and director of the National Headache Centre at King’s College Hospital in London, UK, says: “Single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation is a wonderful example of clinical and laboratory research delivering a real improvement in migraine treatment that is both effective and extremely well tolerated. Many patients are going to get real benefit from this device.”

Consultant neurologist Fayyaz Ahmed, a trustee of The Migraine Trust, adds: “This is a breakthrough treatment for those who cannot tolerate or do not respond to current treatment, and opens the door for a new era in treating migraine headaches. We welcome NICE guidance and very much hope this treatment is made available to those in need.”

Wendy Thomas, chief executive at the charity The Migraine Trust, says: “Huge numbers of sufferers find their lives blighted by migraine. We welcome NICE guidance that may help deliver brighter futures to many people for whom other treatments have not worked.”