First device to treat migraine approved

The Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) is the first medical device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of migraines preceded by aura. Aura is visual or auditory symptoms that occur before a migraine.

Manufactured by eNeura Therapeutics in California, the device is placed against the back of the head and releases a pulse of magnetic energy through the skull and into the occipital cortex in the brain by pressing a button. When this section of the brain is stimulated, the magnetic energy has been found to reduce or stop the migraine pain.

Before FDA approval, a trial was conducted of 201 patients using TMS. Results revealed 38 percent of participants using TMS stopped their migraine pain for two hours afterward, compared to 17 percent of the control group. Twenty-four hours later, 34 percent of people using TMS had no pain compared to 10 percent of the control group. However, the device does not help with other symptoms in conjunction with migraines, such as nausea or sensitivity to light and sound.

People 18 years and older may receive TMS treatment, though the FDA recommends people do not use the device more than once in a 24-hour period. People with epilepsy or family history of seizures should not use TMS. Also, people with pacemakers, magnetic metals, or certain other implants should not use the device.

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