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Gaul, Charly; Diener, Hans-Christoph; Silver, Nicholas; Magis, Delphine; Reuter, Uwe; Andersson, Annelie; Liebler, Eric J.; Straube, Andreas (2016): Non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation for PREVention and Acute treatment of chronic cluster headache (PREVA): A randomised controlled study. In: Cephalalgia, Vol. 36, No. 6: pp. 534-546
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Abstract

Background Chronic cluster headache (CH) is a debilitating disorder for which few well-controlled studies demon.strate effectiveness of available therapies. Non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (nVNS) was examined as adjunctive prophylactic treatment of chronic CH. Methods PREVA was a prospective, open-label, randomised study that compared adjunctive prophylactic nVNS (n=48) with standard of care (SoC) alone (control (n=49)). A two-week baseline phase was followed by a four-week randomised phase (SoC plus nVNS vs control) and a four-week extension phase (SoC plus nVNS). The primary end point was the reduction in the mean number of CH attacks per week. Response rate, abortive medication use and safety/tolerability were also assessed. Results During the randomised phase, individuals in the intent-to-treat population treated with SoC plus nVNS (n=45) had a significantly greater reduction in the number of attacks per week vs controls (n=48) (-5.9 vs -2.1, respectively) for a mean therapeutic gain of 3.9 fewer attacks per week (95% CI: 0.5, 7.2;p=0.02). Higher 50% response rates were also observed with SoC plus nVNS (40% (18/45)) vs controls (8.3% (4/48);p<0.001). No serious treatment-related adverse events occurred. Conclusion Adjunctive prophylactic nVNS is a well-tolerated novel treatment for chronic CH, offering clinical benefits beyond those with SoC.