A new type of treatment called the 'Transcranial
magnetic stimulation' (TMS)
has been approved by the
National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) for use in migraine patients. It can be used irrespective of whether the person suffers from aura
not. (Aura refers to certain symptoms that the person experiences before the migraine
attack). It may be used to treat a migraine attack once it
has started, or to prevent in patients who suffer from recurrent attacks.
The new treatment is likely to provide hope for the
numerous migraine patients who suffer from migraine despite taking medications.
In this form of treatment, a small magnetic pulse is delivered via a device
that is placed on the scalp. The number of pulses, strength, duration and
frequency can be adjusted depending on the requirement of the patient. An
important advantage of this treatment is the device can be carried around and
the treatment can be administered even at home.
Treatment of migraine has always been a challenge
for doctors. Though newer drugs are now available, even these may not be
effective in some cases. Mild cases of migraine can be treated with simple painkillers
and medications for vomiting. More severe cases are usually treated
with medications from a group of drugs called the triptans. Several other drugs are also available for
the prevention and treatment of migraine
The exact mode of action of TMS in migraine is not
known. It is also important to know that this new treatment does not work for
all patients of migraine, as demonstrated in clinical trials. TMS can be administered
to patients who take antimigraine medications as well.
of Magnetic Therapy
studies on TMS are small and therefore, it is unclear what side effects TMS
would cause. Some reported side effects include dizziness
drowsiness, irritability, vigorous dreams and momentary muscle spasms
However, experts do warn of the possibility of more serious side effects