FDA approves new drug-free migraine treatment

Posted at 5:41 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 09:55:15-05

If you are one of the 28 million Americans who suffers from migraines, you know they can be excruciating - even debilitating.

Many of us turn to medication to get relief from pain, but doctors here in Northeast Ohio just started prescribing a treatment that is completely drug free.

“It's estimated that one in four people suffer from migraine,” noted Dr. Deborah Reed, Director of Headache Medicine at University Hospitals.

With so much focus on the opioid epidemic, there is an increasing push to move away from drugs to treat pain.

“If we can get somebody a treatment that doesn't include prescription opioids, which a lot of people will fall to if their migraine medication doesn't work, I think that's wonderful,” Dr. Reed said.

That is the idea behind GammaCore. It is a non-invasive nerve stimulator and was just approved by the FDA for treating migraines.

“Right by your Carotid artery in your neck, you have a nerve called the vagus nerve and when you use the device, it stimulates that vagus nerve and sends the impulses up to the brain, into the areas that can control migraine headache,” explained Dr. Reed.

Clinical trials show the device is just as effective as typical migraine medications, with the added benefit of no side effects.

“I'm very excited to have something else to offer my patients,” Dr. Reed said.

You do need a doctor's prescription to get the GammaCore device. Once you get it, you can use the device yourself in your own home. As of now, GammaCore is covered by some, but not all, insurance companies.