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Straube, Andreas; Ellrich, J.; Eren, O.; Blum, B.; Ruscheweyh, R. (2015): Treatment of chronic migraine with transcutaneous stimulation of the auricular branch of the vagal nerve (auricular t-VNS): a randomized, monocentric clinical trial. In: The Journal of Headache and Pain, Vol. 16, 543
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Background Aim of the study was assessment of efficacy and safety of transcutaneous stimulation of the auricular branch of the vagal nerve (t-VNS) in the treatment of chronic migraine. Methods A monocentric, randomized, controlled, double-blind study was conducted. After one month of baseline, chronic migraine patients were randomized to receive 25 Hz or 1 Hz stimulation of the sensory vagal area at the left ear by a handhold battery driven stimulator for 4 h/day during 3 months. Headache days per 28 days were compared between baseline and the last month of treatment and the number of days with acute medication was recorded The Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) and the Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) questionnaires were used to assess headache-related disability. Results Of 46 randomized patients, 40 finished the study (per protocol). In the per protocol analysis, patients in the 1 Hz group had a significantly larger reduction in headache days per 28 days than patients in the 25 Hz group (−7.0 ± 4.6 vs. −3.3 ± 5.4 days, p = 0.035). 29.4 % of the patients in the 1 Hz group had a ≥50 % reduction in headache days vs. 13.3 % in the 25 Hz group. HIT-6 and MIDAS scores were significantly improved in both groups, without group differences. There were no serious treatment-related adverse events. Conclusion Treatment of chronic migraine by t-VNS at 1 Hz was safe and effective. The mean reduction of headache days after 12 weeks of treatment exceeded that reported for other nerve stimulating procedures.