Disappointing results with tDCS for chronic migraine with medication overuse

  • Grazzi L & al.
  • Cephalalgia
  • 14 Jun 2020

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Takeaway

  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) offered no significant decrease in number of headache days per month in patients with chronic migraine (CM) with medication overuse (MO).

Why this matters

  • Prior studies suggested that techniques such as tDCS that modulate pain-related neural networks might be effective against chronic migraine, but study protocols were poorly designed.

Study design

  • Placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized controlled trial.
  • 135 patients with CM and MO who experienced no improvement with ≥2 prior preventive therapies underwent standardized drug withdrawal protocol and anodal tDCS (n=44), cathodal tDCS (n=45), or sham tDCS (n=46).
  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • At 12 months, no significant difference was detected among groups in percentage of patients with a reduction of ≥50% of migraine days/month (64.1% with anodal vs 60.0% with cathodal vs 46.3% with sham).
  • No significant difference was seen among groups in reduction of number of analgesics/month at 6 or 12 months.
  • No adverse events in either treatment group.

Limitations

  • Single-center study.