A pilot study has shown that non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (nVNS) reduced the number of headache days per month for chronic migraine patients.

The study, published in the journal Neurology earlier this month, also found that patients who remained on nVNS therapy for longer periods of time enjoyed progressively larger decreases in headache.

"Given the need for novel prophylactic therapies for chronic migraine and the high cost of the currently approved medication, nVNS may serve as a well-tolerated and potentially cost-effective alternative for patients," concluded the paper's authors.

Lead author, Stephen Silberstein, professor of neurology at the Jefferson Medical College and Director of the Jefferson Headache Center, commented: "In this pilot study we showed that nVNS was able to demonstrate an progressively more meaningful decrease in headache days in those patients who were treated with nVNS for a number of months. Our trial suggests that nVNS is a safe and effective alternative to drug therapies. I look forward to participating in larger studies in migraine with the gammaCore nVNS therapy to further confirm and expand on these findings."

Since the completion of the study, sponsor electroCore – manufacturer of the gammaCore device used in the trial – has begun two large studies into the effects of nVNS at preventing and treating migraine.

In the study, patients using nVNS (compared to a sham device) saw a "significant reduction" in the number of headache days, with those remaining on therapy for six months experiencing nearly an eight-day drop in headache days per month.