Single-Pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the Preventive Treatment of Difficult-to-Treat Migraine: A 12-Month Prospective Analysis

SOURCE: Journal of Headache & Pain. 23(1):63, 2022 Jun 06.

AUTHORS: Lloyd JO; Hill B; Murphy M; Al-Kaisy A; Andreou AP; Lambru G

BACKGROUND: Initial evidence have shown the short-term efficacy of sTMS in the acute and preventive treatment of migraine. It is unknown whether this treatment approach in the long-term is effective and well tolerated in difficult-to-treat migraine.

METHODS: This is a prospective, single centre, open-label, real-world analysis conducted in difficult-to-treat patients with high-frequency episodic migraine (HFEM) and chronic migraine (CM) with and without medication overuse headache (MOH), who were exposed to sTMS therapy. Patients responding to a three-month sTMS treatment, continued the treatment and were assessed again at month 12. The cut-off outcome for treatment continuation was reduction in the monthly moderate to severe headache days (MHD) of at least 30% (headache frequency responders) and/or a >= 4-point reduction in headache disability using the Headache Impact test-6 (HIT-6) (headache disability responders).

RESULTS: One hundred fifty-three patients were included in the analysis (F:M = 126:27, median age 43, IQR 32.3-56.8). At month 3, 93 out of 153 patients (60%) were responders to treatment. Compared to baseline, the median reduction in monthly headache days (MHD) for all patients at month 3 was 5.0 days, from 18.0 (IQR: 12.0-26.0) to 13.0 days (IQR: 5.75-24.0) (P = 0.002, r = – 0.29) and the median reduction in monthly migraine days (MMD) was 4.0 days, from 13.0 (IQR: 8.75-22.0) to 9.0 (IQR: 4.0-15.25) (P = 0.002, r = – 0.29). Sixty-nine out of 153 patients (45%) reported a sustained response to sTMS treatment at month 12. The percentage of patients with MOH was reduced from 52% (N = 79/153) at baseline to 19% (N = 29/153) at month 3, to 8% (N = 7/87) at month 12. There was an overall median 4-point reduction in HIT-6 score, from 66 (IQR: 64-69) at baseline to 62 at month 3 (IQR: 56-65) (P < 0.001, r = – 0.51). A total of 35 mild/moderate adverse events were reported by 23 patients (15%). One patient stopped sTMS treatment due to scalp sensitivity.

CONCLUSIONS: This open label analysis suggests that sTMS may be an effective, well-tolerated treatment option for the long-term prevention of difficult-to-treat CM and HFEM.