Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation May Prevent Migraine in Adolescents

transcranial magnetic stimulation
transcranial magnetic stimulation
Researchers conducted an open-label prospective study to assess the use of single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation for the management of migraine headache in adolescents.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation may be a feasible, tolerable, and acceptable preventive treatment for migraines in adolescents, according to research published in Headache.

Researchers conducted a pilot open-label study involving 21 participants, 19 of whom finished the run-in period of 4 weeks and 12 of whom finished the entire 16-week study. Initially, participants were instructed to administer 2 pulses, then wait 15 minutes before administering a second set of pulses, twice a day. This method interfered with the participants’ school schedules and led to only 31% completion. When researchers dropped the 15-minute delay, completion increased to 88% (P =.024). Participants administered their own treatments an average of 22 to 24 days per 28-day period. No serious problems occurred, and only 2 participants experienced some discomfort while using the device. The group experienced an absolute reduction of –4.5 headache days per month (P =.019), with an error of ±1.7 days.

The sample group consisted of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. Baseline characteristics included age, sex, age at first headaches, family history of headaches and migraines, and PedMIDAS score. The primary outcome of this study was to gauge the feasibility of the transcranial magnetic stimulation device, as patients with migraine are in need of safe and reliable treatments. The secondary outcomes included determining tolerability, acceptability, the change in numbers of days with headaches, days of moderate or severe pain, and a comparison of headache disability between weeks 1 to 4 and 13 to 16.

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This research suggests that transcranial magnetic stimulation “appears to be a feasible, well-tolerated, and acceptable nonpharmacologic preventive treatment for migraine in adolescents.”


Irwin SL, Qubty W, Allen IE, Patniyot I, Goadsby PJ, Gelfand AA. Transcranial magnetic stimulation for migraine prevention in adolescents: a pilot open-label study [published online March 12, 2018]. Headache. doi:10.1111/head.13284