Sunday, May 6, 2018

Transcranial magnetic stimulation for migraine prevention

Irwin SL, Qubty W, Allen IE, Patniyot I, Goadsby PJ, Gelfand AA. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Migraine Prevention in Adolescents: A Pilot Open-Label Study. Headache. 2018 Mar 12. doi: 10.1111/head.13284. [Epub ahead of print]


To assess the feasibility, tolerability, and patient acceptability of single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) for migraine prevention in adolescents in an open-label pilot study.

Migraine is common in adolescents and can be disabling. Well tolerated preventative therapies that are safe and effective are needed.

This was an open-label prospective pilot feasibility study of sTMS for migraine prevention in adolescents aged 12-17 years. Participants used sTMS twice daily in a preventative fashion, as well as additional pulses as needed acutely. A 4-week baseline run-in period (weeks 1-4) was followed by a 12-week treatment period. Feasibility was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included tolerability and acceptability, as well as the change in headache days, number of moderate/severe headache days, days of acute medication use, and PedMIDAS (headache disability) scores between the run-in period (weeks 1-4) and the third month of treatment (weeks 13-16).

Twenty-one participants enrolled. Nineteen completed the baseline run-in, and 12 completed the study. Using sTMS proved feasible and acceptable with overall high compliance once treatment administration was streamlined. Initially, for preventive treatment, participants were asked to give 2 pulses, wait 15 minutes, then give 2 additional pulses twice daily. This 15-minute delay proved challenging for adolescents, particularly on school days, and therefore was dropped. Study completion rate went from 4/13 (31%) to 7/8 (88%) once this change was made, P = .024. On average, participants used the device preventively between 22 and 24 days over a 28-day block. There were no serious adverse events. Two participants reported mild discomfort with device use.

sTMS appears to be a feasible, well-tolerated, and acceptable nonpharmacologic preventive treatment for migraine in adolescents. In designing future trials of sTMS for migraine prevention in adolescents, streamlined treatment administration will be essential to minimize drop-out. Efficacy needs to be assessed in a larger trial.

Starling AJ, Tepper SJ, Marmura MJ, Shamim EA, Robbins MS, Hindiyeh N, Charles AC, Goadsby PJ, Lipton RB, Silberstein SD, Gelfand AA, Chiacchierini RP, Dodick DW. A multicenter, prospective, single arm, open label, observational study of sTMS for migraine prevention (ESPOUSE Study). Cephalalgia. 2018 May;38(6):1038-1048.


Objective To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) for the preventive treatment of migraine. Background sTMS was originally developed for the acute treatment of migraine with aura. Open label experience has suggested a preventive benefit. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of sTMS for migraine prevention. Methods The eNeura SpringTMS Post-Market Observational U.S. Study of Migraine (ESPOUSE) Study was a multicenter, prospective, open label, observational study. From December 2014 to March 2016, patients with migraine (n = 263) were consented to complete a 1-month baseline headache diary followed by 3 months of treatment. The treatment protocol consisted of preventive (four pulses twice daily) and acute (three pulses repeated up to three times for each attack) treatment. Patients reported daily headache status, medication use, and device use with a monthly headache diary. The primary endpoint, mean reduction of headache days compared to baseline, was measured over the 28-day period during weeks 9 to 12. The primary endpoint was compared to a statistically-derived placebo estimate (performance goal). Secondary endpoints included: 50% responder rate, acute headache medication consumption, HIT-6, and mean reduction in total headache days from baseline of any intensity. Results Of a total of 263 consented subjects, 229 completed a baseline diary, and 220 were found to be eligible based on the number of headache days. The device was assigned to 217 subjects (Safety Data Set) and 132 were included in the intention to treat Full Analysis Set. For the primary endpoint, there was a -2.75 ± 0.40 mean reduction of headache days from baseline (9.06 days) compared to the performance goal (-0.63 days) ( p < 0.0001). The 50% responder rate of 46% (95% CI 37%, 56%) was also significantly higher ( p < 0.0001) than the performance goal (20%). There was a reduction of -2.93 (5.24) days of acute medication use, headache impact measured by HIT-6, -3.1 (6.4) ( p < 0.0001), and total headache days of any intensity -3.16 days (5.21) compared to the performance goal (-0.63 days) ( p < 0.0001). The most common adverse events were lightheadedness (3.7%), tingling (3.2%), and tinnitus (3.2%). There were no serious adverse events. Conclusions This open label study suggests that sTMS may be an effective, well-tolerated treatment option for migraine prevention. Trial registration number NCT02357381.

Starling A. Noninvasive neuromodulation in migraine and cluster headache. Curr Opin Neurol. 2018 Jun;31(3):268-273.


The purpose of this narrative review is to provide an overview of the currently available noninvasive neuromodulation devices for the treatment of migraine and cluster headache.

Over the last decade, several noninvasive devices have undergone development and clinical trials to evaluate efficacy and safety. Based on this body of work, single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcutaneous supraorbital neurostimulation, and noninvasive vagal nerve stimulation devices have been cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration and are available for clinical use for the treatment of primary headache disorders.

Overall, these novel noninvasive devices appear to be safe, well tolerated, and have demonstrated promising results in clinical trials in both migraine and cluster headache. This narrative review will provide a summary and update of the proposed mechanisms of action, evidence, safety, and future directions of various currently available modalities of noninvasive neuromodulation for the treatment of migraine and cluster headache.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I'm Dr Arefa Cassoobhoy, a practicing internist, Medscape advisor, and senior medical director for WebMD. Welcome to Medscape Morning Report, our 1-minute news story for primary care.

    There may be some good news for people who suffer from migraine headaches. Another device is now FDA-approved for prevention, and it's already used for treating acute pain from migraines. The Spring TMS device delivers single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation to the brains of chronic migraine sufferers.

    According to a new study, daily prophylactic treatment for 3 months, which consists of four pulses twice a day, can reduce the number of headache days by almost one third.

    The study included over 130 patients who experienced migraines on at least 4 days per month which lasted for 4 hours or more. The participants completed a 28-day headache diary before starting the 3-month protocol and reported a mean of about 9 headache days per month at baseline. After treatment, this dropped by 2.75 days.

    What's even more encouraging is that the technology has been used for years and has a good safety profile. Be on the lookout for this new option.