Occipital Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Migraine

HealthDay News — For patients with chronic migraine, peripheral nerve stimulation of the occipital nerves reduces the number of headache days, according to a study published online October 25 in Pain Practice.1

Nagy A. Mekhail, MD, PhD, from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues implanted 20 patients at a single center with a neurostimulation system, and randomized them to an active or control group for 12 weeks. Patients received open-label treatment for an additional 40 weeks.

The researchers observed a reduction in the number of headache days per month (8.51 days; P <.0001). Sixty and 35 percent of patients achieved a 30 and 50% reduction, respectively, in headache days and/or pain intensity. All patients had reductions in Migraine Disability Assessment and Zung Pain and Distress scores. At least 1 adverse event was reported by 15 of the patients, with a total of 20 adverse events reported.

“Our results support the 12-month efficacy of 20 chronic migraine patients receiving peripheral nerve stimulation of the occipital nerves in this single-center trial,” the authors wrote.

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  1. Mekhail NA, Estemalik E, Azer G, Davis K, Tepper SJ. Safety and Efficacy of Occipital Nerves Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Migraines: Randomized, Double-blind, Controlled Single-center Experience. Pain Pract. 2016. DOI: 10.1111/papr.12504.