In a new medical technologies guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended gammaCore for the treatment and prevention of cluster headaches.
gammaCore is a small and portable non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator for treating and preventing cluster headaches that can be self-administered by the patient or their carer. Not all patients with cluster headaches may benefit from gammaCore. Treatment with gammaCore should be continued only if symptoms reduce in the first three months.
After application of a conductive gel, gammaCore is held against the neck (over the cervical branch of the vagus nerve) to deliver a small electric current for about two minutes. This procedure is repeated three times. The device requires radio frequency identification card activation which allows a maximum of 30 stimulations to be delivered in a 24-hour period.
Currently available medications for cluster headaches often have partial effectiveness and may result in serious side effects. Evidence indicates that the addition of gammaCore to standard care could reduce the frequency and intensity of cluster headache attacks and lower the requirement for medications in some patients. This further translates to significant improvement in the quality of life of affected individuals. Cost analysis suggests that gammaCore could result in cost savings as a consequence of decreased medication use.