Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation May Treat Migraine in Patients with COVID-19, According to Neurologist Stephen D. Silberstein, M.D.
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PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 13.6 percent of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 experienced a headache, often described as moderate to severe in intensity, many of which “may feel like a migraine attack.” Not only is headache one of the signs of the COVID-19 virus, it is also recognized as a lingering symptom long after the illness is over. Although formal statistics on the clinical features of COVID-19 headaches do not exist at this stage of the pandemic, people are reporting migraine-like headaches. They describe a throbbing and/or pressure like pain that is aggravated by routine movements such as bending over. They also experience sensory disturbances such as sensitivity to light or sound as well as nausea and recovery from these symptoms may take several days.
“Many patients with COVID-19 are seeking treatment for their headaches,” says Stephen D Silberstein, MD, Director of Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson Headache Center. “Patients can be reluctant to start a prescription drug if over the counter medication such as ibuprofen doesn’t help. Now there is a non-invasive, therapeutic device, gammaCore Sapphire, that not only treats migraines but also can help prevent them too.”
Studies of COVID-19 symptoms reveal that headache is a leading symptom for those infected by the virus. According to research on treatments of COVID-19 headaches current regimens include the off-label use of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) blockers. Those drug therapies are not without concern for possible adverse reactions, allergies, or interactions with other medications which highlights the advantages of a non-drug intervention.
gammaCore Sapphire™ (nVNS) is the first non-invasive therapy to receive 510(k) clearance for the treatment as well as the prevention of migraine and cluster headaches in adults. It is a small portable handheld device that is held to the neck to apply a mild electrical stimulation through the skin to the vagus nerve. gammaCore stimulates the nerve’s afferent fibers which in turn activate several systems in the brain that can decrease or prevent the pain from migraine. The gammaCore therapy can be easily self-administered at home without the side effects associated with commonly prescribed drugs.
“With the uptick of telemedicine and the absence of in-person medical visits migraine, cluster and other complicated headaches, at-home therapies have become crucial to patients for the management of painful and persistent symptoms,” adds Dr. Silberstein.
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Source: Stephen D. Silberstein, MD.
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