A “Smart” Non-Drug Arm Patch to Fight Migraine

A new form of migraine treatment is in the testing phase – a new kind of migraine fighting patch. Of course, putting a patch on your body for medical reasons, even to fight migraine, isn’t anything new. Of course, we’ve had mixed success in the past – take the famous example of Zecuity, which shows no signs of returning to the market soon.

But these are mostly drug options. How about a non-invasive, non-drug patch? One that you can actually control from your smart phone? How would that work?

The company is Theranica, and the Nerivio Migra patch is the product currently being tested.

Nerivio MigraRecently I updated you on the Cefaly device, which is billed as a external trigeminal nerve stimulator (e-TNS). Various similar devices are available or are being tested for migraine.

Although we don’t completely understand how these devices fight pain, one theory is the “pain inhibits pain” theory. The idea is that pain in one part of the body may actually inhibit pain in another part.

But who wants to hammer their finger, to stop a migraine attack? No thanks. So – what if we could trick the body into thinking that there was pain, even though we couldn’t feel it?

Now things get really complicated, but that is one way of looking at nerve stimulation.

However you look at it, there is evidence that such devices can lower your migraine pain (without causing more pain!).

Now unlike Cefaly, this new patch is not a preventative, but an abortive. It’s intended to stop individual attacks. But what else sets it apart?

Well, Theranica asked some questions – how can we make a device that’s more discreet – less bulky – so that it could easily be hidden and used anywhere? How can we make sure there is no pain, or muscle “twitching” when the device is used? And how can we avoid parts of the body that are often the most sensitive during a migraine attack (head and neck)? And most importantly, how can we create a device that will provide long term relief?

And so, Nerivio Migra was born. Designed as a wireless patch, placed high on the arm, it tries to balance being portable, easy to use, and effective.

A preliminary study has already been completed, showing promise. Compared to sham treatment, patients were far more likely to report a reduction in pain – in many cases, a complete elimination of pain. The results were easily comparable to taking sumatriptan, a common migraine-targeting medication.

The study was small, and there were some problems with it, so it’s time for a (hopefully) more robust study. The study is not yet recruiting participants, but will be soon. If you live in the United States or Israel, and suffer from episodic migraine, you may be eligible. For more details and contact information, just go here.

Whether or not Nerivio Migra is ultimately successful, it represents more thoughtful progress and research into non-drug, non-invasive treatments for migraine. Stay tuned.

For a detailed discussion of the medical theories behind Nerivio Migra, see Acute Migraine Pain Relief via Remote Electrical Nerve Stimulation – a systematic analysis

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