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Preventing Migraines Through Electrical Stimulation

R. Nial Bradshaw/

In March, the FDA approved Cefaly, a battery-powered headband that is marketed as a way to prevent migraines through electrical stimulation.

Cefaly was the first migraine-prevention product to be approved by the FDA. 

"It activates a low level electrical current that's supposed to stimulate the nerves of the heads, those nerves that are supposed to be associated with migraines." says Dr. Stewart Tepper, the director of research at the Center for Headache and Pain at the Cleveland Clinic. 

The FDA, however, approved the new product on too little research, according to Dr. Tepper, as only half of the 67 participants in the 3-month study received full electrical stimulation. "That was really the main study that the FDA used to approve this," says Dr. Tepper. 

The study was only "modestly effective," says Dr. Tepper. "When it worked, it seemed to work well, but it didn't work well for all the people."

Dr. Tepper is an associate editor for Headache, journal of the American Headache Society, as well as an editor for Headache Care, journal of Headache Care for Practicing Clinicians in North America. 

To learn more about electrical stimulation for migraines, visit: