FDA approves new drug-free treatment for migraines

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (CNN) -- Millions of people suffer from migraines every year. While there's no known cure, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug-free treatment.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota was one of 16 centers chosen to participate in a study of the new device.

Christine Oinenen Ehren of Saint Paul has had migraines since she was a child. She says they steal her hours and sometimes her days.

"It's like your senses get turned up to like eleven and suddenly I can't stand the smell of the shampoo in my hair."

While medication works most of the time, Oinenen Ehren says she's interested in the Cerena TMS.

The new device is the first device approved by the FDA for treatment of migraines with auras.

It's is the second generation of the device, sold in Europe.

Dr. Bret Haake, a neurologist with Health Partners, says, "I think it's exciting because it's very, very safe and it gives us a non-medication alternative."

Haake says, "A lot of headache disorders are actually worsened by over-using medications and so anything we can to do to get people to use less medications for their headaches tend to be better."

How does it work? Held against the back of the skull, the device sends a pulse of magnetic energy through the skull into the occipital cortex of the brain.

Haake says, "The theory is by changing the electric field in the nerve cells in the brain that it can change the chemical balance and the way the nerve cells are communicating with each other and that can tilt the balance and make the headache go away."

It's migraine relief without medication.

Oinenen Ehren said, "It would be great to have anything that would salvage me more time."

eNeura is still determining when the Cerena TMS will be available in the United States.

It will only be available by prescription.


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