Migraine Nerve Stimulation Device Now Available Over-the-Counter

Megan Brooks

October 13, 2020

The first dual-purpose, external trigeminal nerve stimulation device to treat and prevent acute migraine is now available over-the-counter to adults over age 18.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared Cefaly Dual (Cefaly Technology) which was previously only available by prescription.

Most migraines involve the trigeminal nerve, which can be accessed through the skin on the forehead. Cefaly Dual stimulates the trigeminal nerve using a reusable self-adhesive electrode placed on the forehead.

The device has two settings, ACUTE and PREVENT.

In the ACUTE setting, the individual wears the device for 60 minutes at the onset or during a migraine attack. In the PREVENT setting, the individual wears the device for 20 minutes daily to help prevent future episodes. 

At the start of a session, the wearer may feel a slight tingling sensation, which gradually increases and spreads throughout the forehead and the front part of the head. After about 14 minutes, the intensity stabilizes and remains constant until the treatment session is over, the company explains.

The device automatically shuts off at the end of each session. It can be used as a stand-alone option or with existing treatment, the company notes.

"For millions of people across the US, living with migraine pain and coping with debilitating symptoms are daily realities. It's our mission to provide consumers with increased access to an effective and safe dual modality migraine treatment that is scientifically proven to reduce the number of monthly migraine days by almost half," Jennifer Trainor McDermott, CEO of Cefaly Technology, said in a news release.

The FDA's over-the-counter (OTC) clearance of Cefaly Dual was based on several randomized, controlled clinical trials supporting the efficacy and safety of the device, the company said.

An earlier version of the Cefaly device was approved in the US in March 2014 to help prevent migraine headache in adults aged 18 or older, as reported by Medscape Medical News.

The next-generation Cefaly Dual device is "small and sleek in comparison to its older model, which uses bands along the sides to create room for batteries. The newest device is palm-sized, more portable, and uses a battery that is rechargeable via USB," the company said.

Last spring, the company announced a buyback program where customers in the US may return their original device and receive a discount of the purchase of the Cefaly Dual device.

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