Three New Treatments for Chronic Migraine
The official day of summer is rapidly approaching. Longer hours of daylight, days at the beach, outdoor BBQ’s, vacations, and a break from the more structured September-May time frame is welcomed by many. But for the migraine patient, the heat of the summer months can be a frequent cause of headache exacerbation. Staying well-hydrated and avoiding being out in the middle of the day are common-sense precautions. Are there some other treatments that may prove helpful for those who dread the summer months and feel “nothing is working” for them?
In this newsletter, I would like to discuss three novel treatment approaches to consider for those frustrated with their current migraine pattern.
- The Cefaly Headband: this is the first medical device approved by the FDA for the prevention of migraine headaches. It is a small, portable battery-powered headband that is worn across the forehead and fits over the ears on both sides. This device applies an electric current to the skin in the center of the forehead just above the eyes. This current is similar to that of other transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS) that have been used for years in the treatment of pain and are frequently part of physical therapy. The electrical current of the Cefaly device stimulates branches of the trigeminal nerve, which is associated with migraine headaches. There are 3 settings for the device: one for prevention of migraine; one for acute treatment of migraine; and one for relaxation. In the patient satisfaction study of 2,313 Cefaly users in France and Belgium, more than 53% of patients were satisfied with Cefaly treatment and were willing to buy the device for continued use. The device is approximately $350 and requires a prescription to purchase. So far, in my practice, about ½ of patients who have tried the device are satisfied and happy with the results so this is consistent with the findings in the patient satisfaction study.
- Myers Cocktail IV Treatment: this is an IV treatment containing calcium gluconate, magnesium, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, and msc. Other amino acids/electrolytes administered in an IV bag of 100 cc solution. It takes about 6 minutes to go in. It is not covered by insurance and costs just under $100 for the basic IV treatment. According to a physician colleague of mine, it is recommended as a monthly treatment for maintenance. It is available at Link Medical in Newport through Dr. Garrett Wdowin who is a Naturopath MD (NMD). The phone number to schedule an appointment and/or IV treatment is 949-465-0770. My opinion is that this IV treatment may benefit some migraine patients who are frustrated with their current treatment and this treatment appears to be quite safe.
- California eyeBrain Medical Trial: For some chronic daily headache patients, there may be an imbalance between the patient’s peripheral vision and central vision. This could cause overstimulation of the Trigeminal nerve and be contributing to chronic daily headache and neck pain. For patients who have chronic daily headache (headache 15 or more days a month for over 3 months) and have dry eyes, sensitivity to light, stiffness in shoulders or neck, and/or lethargy (fatigue), then you may be a candidate for a novel treatment for your headaches. There is a clinical trial to evaluate a new treatment to address imbalance between peripheral and central vision; there is no charge to be in this trial. To see if you are a candidate for this eyeBrain free clinical trial, go to http://eyebrainmedical.com/self-evaluation website and take the self evaluation of 12 questions. This should only take about 3 minutes to complete. You will then be contacted in 24 hours to determine your eligibility for this study. The treatment involves a progression or prisms in glasses to address the imbalance contributing to the frequent headaches. The study dates in Orange County are June 23-26th. I have met with the study coordinators and was pleased with their honesty and genuine interest in helping chronic daily headache patients with their approach. Their study appears to be quite safe and non-invasive; I like the fact that patients are screened ahead of time by the on-line self-evaluation. This helps to minimize wasting anyone’s time if they are not a candidate for this study. My advice: check it out and take the on-line self-evaluation; you have nothing to lose.
In summary, I have discussed three novel treatments for migraine patients. If you feel you are a candidate for any of these treatments, please call our office and set up an appointment to discuss them further. For the Cefaly headband, a prescription is required to order the device. This could be a great time to come in and have your migraine treatment plan evaluated and improved. I look forward to seeing you in my office in the near future and in the meantime, have a wonderful summer.
Susan Hutchinson, MD Director-Orange County Migraine & Headache Center