Tietjen added, "So there are a lot of very real issues here. And looking for other approaches like this definitely makes sense."
Study author Schoenen noted that apart from Belgium, the supraorbital transcutaneous stimulator is currently also available in France and Canada, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process is still "ongoing."
Meanwhile, several different follow-up investigations are planned. One will look at the device's impact on patients who suffer more frequent (chronic) migraines, while another will explore a newer stimulation approach in which a similar device will target the suboccipital nerve (also found in the head) in addition to the supraorbital nerve.
That said, Schoenen cautioned that as a practical matter the cost of the device in question is "not trivial," currently priced in Belgium at 300 Euro (about $400). She suggested that patients considering the intervention might want to start out by renting the stimulator for two to four months, to see whether or not they realize any benefits before making a purchase.
For more on migraines, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Jean Schoenen, M.D., Ph.D., headache research unit, department of neurology and neurosciences, Liege University, Citadelle Hospital, Liege, Belgium; Gretchen E. Tietjen, M.D., chairwoman, neurology, and director, headache treatment and research program, University of Toledo Medical Center, Toledo, Ohio; Feb. 6, 2013, Neurology, online
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