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SpringTMS Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Migraine Gets FDA Approval

SpringTMS, the first transcranial magnetic stimulation device for migraine that will be available to patients, has received FDA approval. Details are still sparse, but I’ve written up what I can find in SpringTMS Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Device for Migraine Receives FDA Approval on Migraine.com. The highlights:

  • Approval was based on a study of people with episodic migraine with aura. Participants had to have a visual, sensory or motor aura preceding at least 30% of their attacks and have between one and eight attacks a month. This may not be the final target population, though, depending on who is included in the pilot study and what the findings are.
  • Before becoming available to the general public, several headache centers in the U.S. will conduct a pilot study to determine the optimal way to use the device. These clinics have yet to be made public. I’m looking into how to become part of the study and will let you know what I find.
  • The cost is unknown. In England, it cost £160 per month (about $270 USD), as of January 2014.
  • It will probably eventually be covered by insurance, but those details are unknown.
  • It will be prescription-only.
  • SpringTMS is a smaller version of Cerena, which received FDA approval in December 2013. Cerena will not be available to patients.

Here’s what I learned about the pilot study after I saw my headache specialist, who is organizing the study, in January: Update on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Device Availability. It looks like it could be on track for general availability in January 2015.

9 Responses to SpringTMS Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Migraine Gets FDA Approval

  1. Amanda says:

    Well, phooey. I was looking forward to looking like She-Ra Princess of Power with the Cerena version, the new one looks boring (but really, I just hope it works). I do wish they would hurry up and get the thing available. I’m not sure about the “subscription fee” model, either, but depending on pricing it could be a good way to let people try it without a large upfront cost I suppose. Thanks for keeping us updated!

    • You can still look like She-Ra with Cefaly! The names get confusing, but they are different technologies and work in different ways. Cerena and SpringTMS are transcranial magnetic stimulators, while Cefaly is like a TENS unit. The first two go on the back of the head, the latter is the forehead “headband.”

      The price does seem steep. For some of us, it would be cheaper than meds (especially if insurance will cover it) and has the advantage (it appears) of not causing a rebound effect and not having any real side effects (so far identified). It’s exciting to have potential options, but there are still a lot of unknowns.

  2. Carl, MigrainePal says:

    Better late than never. I saw stats somewhere saying they helped around 30% of those in the trial that was conducted. It won’t be a solution for all of us but every little bit helps.

  3. Merri says:

    My 23 year old daughter has been using the Cephaly for about 2 weeks now. Her neurologist at the University of WA prescribed it for her. We are anxious to see if she has any improvement in her migraines that she has had for 18 years.

  4. Ina le Grange says:

    Hi,
    I had an operation done via our headache clinic in South Africa but no decrease in attacks.
    I use to have approx 3 per week but now have them daily.
    Pity the stimulator is so expensive.
    Perhaps i can ask more information from you for the other device you mentioned above.
    Warm regards
    Ina le Grange

    • Ina, I’m not sure if the TMS is available in South Africa. Your doctor can probably tell you about availability. You might want to look into Cefaly, which is another type of external nerve stimulator. It’s much less expensive and is available over-the-counter in much of the world.

      Take care,
      Kerrie

  5. Tina Aston says:

    Dear Kerrie
    I have been prescribed the Springs TMS by my migraine specialist and have been using it for 3 days now, I have used no medication in that time so I hope that it works but it’s nice to give my body a rest from the drugs.
    Have you ever used it ? I would be interested in other people’s experiences.
    I am in the uk and use your blog regularly to give me hope which it has done for what must be 12 to 15 years. Thank you so much
    Kind regards
    Tina

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