According to a recent press release, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed marketing of the first device that can be used as a preventative treatment for migraine headaches. Migraine headaches, unfortunately, are a common condition for many people. Estimates note that up to 10% of people in the U.S. may suffer from migraines, with women experiencing them more often. Migraine headaches differ from standard headaches in both severity and symptoms. Migraines can by characterized by intense episodes of severe pain, throbbing sensations, nausea and vomiting, and strong sensitivity to light, sound, or odors.
The newest device, called Cefaly, is a small, portable, battery-powered device that offers an alternative for pain relief without the need for medication.
The device sits across the forehead, almost like a headband. It is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device that emits a small electrical current to the skin and tissues around the trigeminal nerve. This nerve has been associated with migraines and so may effectively stimulate the nerve to reduce the occurrence of pain.
A Belgian clinical study researched the safety and effectiveness of the Cefaly device. 53% of patients in the study reported that they were satisfied with the treatment and would buy the device once available. The study also showed that those using the device experienced fewer migraines per month and used less migraine medication than those who used a placebo device. While results are positive, some study participants noted that they disliked the feeling of the device, sleepiness during treatment, or headaches following treatment. Otherwise, no serious adverse effects were reported.
While it is now approved for marketing by the FDA, it may take some time for this device to make its way into clinical settings. Hopefully, further research will highlight even greater benefits of this device for those who suffer from migraines. With little reported side effects and a reduced need for medication, it promises to do just that.
Would you use the Cefaly device to help with your migraines?
Image by Aimanness Photography via Flickr