Stimulation Therapy Device for Episodic Cluster Headache Gets FDA Approval


FDA approves the first noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation device approved for the acute treatment of pain from episodic cluster headache.

The FDA has approved the first noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation device, gammaCore, for the acute treatment of pain from episodic cluster headache in adult patients, the manufacturer electroCore announced in a press release.

The product is a handheld, noninvasive, easy-to-use device that provides a new option for adults with the headache disorder. The device is applied at the neck and works by transmitting a mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve through the skin, which reduces associated pain.

The FDA’s release is based on analyses of data from 2 clinical trials, ACT1 and ACT2, which evaluated the safety and efficacy of gammaCore for the acute treatment of episodic cluster headache. Both trials were prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies that evaluated the use of gammaCore versus a placebo.

The results from ACT1, which evaluated 81 patients, showed that 34.2% of patients experienced a reduction in pain after treatment compared with 10.6% of patients in the placebo group. Results from the ACT2 trial also demonstrated a significantly higher percentage of pain reduction in patients who used the product (47.4%) versus patients treated with a placebo (6.2%).

Both trials also demonstrated gammaCore’s safety and tolerability, with the majority of adverse events being mild and transient and occurring during the time of active treatment.

“The FDA release of gammaCore is an important advance in the treatment of pain associated with cluster headache,” Stephen Silberstein, MD, Director, Headache Center, Jefferson University, said in a press release. “It is a way for patients to treat their symptoms as often as they need to use the device.”


FDA releases gammaCore, the first non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy applied at the neck for acute treatment of associated with episodic cluster headache in adult patients [news release]. electroCore’s website. Accessed April 18, 2017.

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