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IHS: Nerve Stimulation May Ease Migraine Pain

May be safe and effective for managing headache pain and disability linked to chronic migraine

THURSDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) may be effective in managing pain and disability associated with chronic migraine, according to a study presented at the 15th Congress of the International Headache Society, held from June 23 to 26 in Berlin.

Stephen Silberstein, M.D., from the Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and colleagues evaluated the safety and efficacy of ONS for the management of headache pain and disability related to chronic migraine. A total of 153 patients were implanted with a neurostimulation system (St. Jude Medical Neuromodulation) and were randomly allocated to an active or control group for 12 weeks. Patients continued in an open-label phase and were evaluated at 24, 48, and 52 weeks. Outcomes measured were scores for Migraine Disability Assessment questionnaire (MIDAS), Zung Pain and Distress Scale (PAD), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores, quality of life (QoL), patient satisfaction, and adverse events.

The investigators found significant differences between the groups for all parameters at 12 weeks. MIDAS headache days were reduced by 22.5 and 3.4, total MIDAS scores improved by 64.6 and 20.4, PAD scores improved by 13.3 and 5.5, and VAS scores were reduced by 14.1 and 7.0, in the active and control groups, respectively. There was a 30 percent reduction seen in VAS in 35.2 and 11.5 percent of patients, with 66.7 and 17.2 percent of patients reporting improved QoL, and 51.4 and 19.2 percent being satisfied, in the active and control groups, respectively. The rate of serious device- or procedure-related events was 1 percent.

"The results provide evidence to support safety and effectiveness of ONS for the management of headache pain and disability associated with chronic migraine," the authors write.

Several of the study authors disclosed financial ties with the St. Jude Medical Neuromodulation Division, which sponsored the research.

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