Two studies on the treatment of migraine headache with non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation presented at AAN meeting

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At the American Association of Neurology (AAN) meeting in Philadelphia, USA, two separate studies showed that electroCore’s non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (nVNS) therapy was effective in helping patients with different types of migraine.

The first poster presentation, on April 28th, found that two hours after treatment with electroCore’s non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy patients who had both chronic migraine and medication overuse headache were pain free in 33% of attacks while significant pain relief (mild or no pain) was noted in 50% of attacks. In the second poster presented on May 1st it was found that 45% of patients, with migraine without aura, were pain free within 30 minutes of just one dose of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy.

The poster on patients with chronic migraine and medicine overuse headache was presented by Innocenzo Rainero from the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Torino, Italy. This pilot trial included 15 chronic migraine/medication overuse headache patients. All patients underwent a five-day in-patient detoxification period and were then followed for six months. During this period 362 migraine attacks were treated by the patients with non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy.

Of particular importance in this patient population, rescue medication was required in <19% of the attacks (67/362). Side effects were mild and transient.

Rainero and colleagues concluded that non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation with gammaCore could be an effective and safe treatment in patients who suffer with both chronic migraine and medication overuse headache after detoxification.

The poster on patients with migraine without aura was presented by Licia Grazzi and involved 30 patients diagnosed with migraine without aura who were being treated at the Headache Centre at the Neurological Institute C Besta, Milan, Italy.

The patients ranged in age between 18 and 65 and were experiencing between five to nine migraine attacks per month. After being trained on electroCore’s gammaCore device, patients were asked to treat three to five moderate to severe migraine attacks with a single 90-second dose and record the level of pain from 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Of the 96 migraine attacks treated, 54 (56%) experienced meaningful relief two hours after treatment, including 43 (44.8%) who were pain free within 30 minutes. In an additional 11 (11.5%) attacks, the patients reported moderate pain relief. In 42 (43.7%) attacks the non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy did not offer any relief after two hours and patients returned to rescue medications. Treatment with gammaCore was well tolerated and no patients reported an adverse event.

ElectroCore’s proprietary, non-invasive electrical stimulation therapy works by activating specific fibres in the vagus nerve. This activation is believed to cause the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters within the central nervous system, and reduces the over expression of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, which has been implicated in a number of different disorders.

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