NICE advises on cluster headache treatment gammaCore

cluster headache treatment gammacore

NICE has published a Medtech Innovation Briefing (MIB) on electroCore’s cluster headache treatment gammaCore. 

The non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator (nVNS) can be used in the treatment and prevention of cluster headache in adults.

The report collates the most recent published evidence, concluding that the use of gammaCore alongside standard of care may be more effective than standard of care only, in the treatment of cluster headaches.

Clinical specialists propose that this cluster headache treatment has the potential to be a treatment option for people who haven’t responded to, or can’t tolerate currently available treatments.

Cluster headache is an excruciating primary headache disorder that is frequently nicknamed ‘suicide headache’ due to its severity. It was recently recognised by the NHS as one of the top 20 most painful conditions known to man. Cluster headache is estimated to cost the health service in England more than £10,000 a year per patient, affecting approximately 66,000 people in the UK.

“Cluster headache is one of the most severe and under-recognised types of pain known to mankind”

A MIB is a report developed by NICE to support NHS and social care commissioners and staff who are considering using new medical devices and other medical or diagnostic technologies. The information provided includes a description of the technology, how it’s used, and its potential role in the treatment pathway.

The opinion of four leading clinical experts and the advocacy group, Migraine Trust, were consulted in the development of the MIB. The report contributors noted that the use of the cluster headache treatment gammaCore has led to improvements for some people, allowing them to return to work and resume normal activities. It is also stated that gammaCore is easy to use, does not need to be surgically implanted and requires no clinical monitoring.

gammaCore is a handheld, portable device which modifies pain signals by stimulating the vagus nerve through the transmission of a mild electrical signal. It can be used either to prevent cluster headache from occurring, or can be used to treat pain during a headache. The technology allows patients to self-care from their home environment, which could help to alleviate hospital-setting pressures.

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cluster headache treatment gammaCore is CE-marked in the European Union for the acute and/or prophylactic treatment of primary headache (migraine, cluster headache, and hemicrania continua) and medication overuse headache in adults.

Dr Nicholas Silver, Consultant Neurologist at The Walton Centre, Liverpool, said, “Cluster headache is one of the most severe and under-recognised types of pain known to mankind. Patients may suffer for years without the correct diagnosis or treatment, and women are less likely to be recognised.

“The NICE publication draws on significant clinical and research experience that recognises gammaCore as an effective, non-invasive handheld device with no known serious side effects. This is a great step forward as it will undoubtedly significantly improve the lives of many sufferers.”

Francis R. Amato, Chief Executive Officer of electroCore, said, “We are encouraged by the findings of the report which reiterate that gammaCore is an effective treatment option for adults with this highly debilitating condition. electroCore will continue to partner with NICE to ensure that our technology is routinely available to eligible patients on the NHS.”