High-tech Relief for Migraine Sufferers?

December 18, 2008
Keli Rising

How would your patients react to the knowledge that they might be able to control migraines by zapping them away instead of using prescription drugs?

How would your patients react to the knowledge that they might be able to control migraines by zapping them away instead of using prescription drugs?

With approximately 28 million people suffering with migraine, zapping them away might be a better treatment alternative. According to Yousef Mohammad, MD, MSc, professor of neurology at The Ohio State University Medical Center, “only 50 to 60 percent of migraine patients respond to traditional migraine drugs."

A number of studies evaluating the effectiveness of using a transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS) to interrupt “the aura phase of the migraine before it leads to a migraine” by sending magnetic pulses have been conducted, with favorable results and no signs of serious side effects. In fact, there was a clinical trial with 164 patients that demonstrated how after just two hours of treatment, “39 percent were pain free, compared to 22 percent of the patients receiving placebo pulses.”

Dr. Mohammad said, “We’re interrupting this electrical storm or current in the brain before it leads to the headache.” He believes that the successful results from the clinical trials could lead to the device being approved within the next couple of months.

Of course, there are healthcare professionals who are being extremely cautious regarding the use of TMS to treat migraine patients. Dr. Alexander Mauskop said, “You don’t wanna walk around with a device and zap your brain when you have a migraine. And there are some potential side effects such as epileptic seizure, so it’s not ready for primetime, it’s not ready for commercial use.”

Would you prescribe this type of treatment for patients with migraine? Do you agree with Dr. Mohammad or Dr. Mauskop?