4th April 2016

NICE issues guidance on new migraine device

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidance on gammaCore device

gammaCore deviceThe National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidance saying that electroCore’s non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation treatment (gammaCore) is safe and can now be used in the NHS for the prevention and acute treatment of migraine and cluster headache.

The small handheld device is about the size of a mobile phone. To use the device patients place it on the side of the neck, over the cervical branch of the vagus nerve, until small muscle contractions are felt under the skin. The device can be used to treat acute migraine attacks, and as prophylaxis between attacks.

The evidence submitted to NICE found that there was pain relief in about half the migraine patients and complete pain relief in around 20% within two hours of using gammaCore. They also found that there was relief from sickness, sensitivity to light and noise in up to fifty percent of patients, recovery from disability in about thirty percent of migraine patient within two hours and additional migraine treatments were only needed in about half the patients two hours after treatment.

The interventional procedure guidance issued by NICE notes that current evidence on the safety of the device for cluster headache and migraine raises no major concerns. However, the guidance states that it should only be used with special arrangements for clinical governance, consent and audit or research. This is because the evidence on efficacy is limited on quantity and quality. Patients should discuss their treatment options with their health professional for more information.

“We welcome this new guidance from NICE which will provide some clarity for clinicians and patients in England and Wales seeking treatment for this debilitating condition. We hope that the recommendation for further research on the efficacy will lead to this device becoming more readily available in the future.” Hannah Verghese, Advocacy and Policy Manager at The Migraine Trust

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