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Migraine treatment: what is the new medicine for migraine sufferers and who is eligible?

An electrical treatment for the illness has been bolstered by the publishing of a study that could help millions of Americans.

A patient walks along the corridor of the emergency unit of the Saint Camille hospital in Bry-sur-Marne, a suburb of Paris, on January 21, 2022.
Julien De RosaAFP

After a study with over 20,000 people, a wearable device has been found to remove migraine pain. The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Pain Research, are based on an analysis of remote electrical neuromodulation (REN) treatments with Nerivio, a device worn on the arm that uses mild electrical pulses to disrupt pain signals. Just under a quarter of the subjects felt no pain after 2 hours.

The study is yet to be peer reviewed and was conducted by the company that produces the device.

“REN provides a safe, efficacious and stable treatment option for acute treatment of migraine... This is a very important component in the migraine therapy toolbox," lead author Jessica Ailani, MD, Director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center and Professor of Clinical Neurology, said.

A smartphone app studied the data from 12,151 patients from 2019 to 2021. Two-thirds of patients only used REN, with the remainder continuing to use more traditional medication.

"To the best of our knowledge, this study is the largest prospective real-world evidence analysis of a migraine device to date," said Alon Ironi, CEO of Theranica.

Typical symptoms of migraines are:

  • headache,
  • nausea,
  • visual disturbances,
  • sensitivity to light and sound.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, the illness affects more than 37 million people in the United States.

"While some people with migraine get relief from prescribed or even over-the-counter medications, others do not respond to medications, or cannot tolerate their side effects. There are also people who cannot use medications due to contraindications or being at risk of drug-drug interactions or medication overuse headache,” Ailani said.

How can the treatment be acquired?

The FDA approved Nerivio as a treatment for acute migraine in adults in 2019. Over 25,000 people in the US have used the device, but it is only available by prescription. The listed price of the treatment, which consists of 12 rounds, is $599.