FDA Approves Device to Treat Migraines With Auras
Nearly 38% of migraine patients who used the Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) were headache-free two hours after using the device; after 24 hours, nearly 34% of the Cerena TMS users were pain-free.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS), the first device to relieve pain caused by migraine headaches that are preceded by an aura—a visual, sensory or motor disturbance immediately preceding the onset of a migraine attack.
Migraine headaches are characterized by intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound, noted a press release from the FDA. A migraine can last anywhere between four and 72 hours when untreated. These debilitating headaches affect approximately 10% of people worldwide and are three times more common in women than in men. About one third of people with migraines experience an aura.
“Millions of people suffer from migraines and this new device represents a new treatment option for some patients,” said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
The Cerena TMS is a prescription device used after the onset of pain associated with migraine headaches preceded by an aura. Using both hands to hold the device against the back of the head, the user presses a button to release a pulse of magnetic energy to stimulate the occipital cortex in the brain, which may stop or lessen the pain associated with migraine headaches.
The FDA reviewed the data for the Cerena TMS through the de novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for some low- to moderate-risk medical devices that are not substantially equivalent to an already legally marketed device.
Approval was based on a randomized control clinical trial of 201 patients who had mostly moderate to strong migraine headaches and who had auras preceding at least 30% of their migraines. Of the study subjects, 113 recorded treating a migraine at least once when pain was present. The study showed that nearly 38% of patients who used the Cerena TMS when they had migraine pain were pain-free two hours after using the device compared to about 17% of patients in the control group. After 24 hours, nearly 34% of the Cerena TMS users were pain-free compared to 10% in the control group.
The study did not show that the Cerena TMS is effective in relieving the associated symptoms of migraine, such as sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and nausea. The device is for use in people 18 years of age and older. The study did not evaluate the device’s performance when treating types of headaches other than migraine headaches preceded by an aura.
Adverse events reported during the study were rare for both the device and the control groups but included single reports of sinusitis, aphasia (inability to speak or understand language) and vertigo (sensation of spinning). Dizziness may be associated with the use of the device.
Counterindications for the use the Cerena TMS device include having metals in the head, neck, or upper body that are attracted by a magnet, or if they have an active implanted medical device such as a pacemaker or deep brain stimulator. The Cerena TMS device should not be used in patients with suspected or diagnosed epilepsy or a personal or family history of seizures. The recommended daily usage of the device is not to exceed one treatment in 24 hours.
The Cerena TMS is manufactured by eNeura Therapeutics of Sunnyvale, Calif.