Neuromodulation in migraine: state of the art and perspectives

Expert Rev Med Devices. 2015 May;12(3):329-39. doi: 10.1586/17434440.2015.1005606. Epub 2015 Jan 29.


Migraine is a highly prevalent and disabling disease. The drugs prescribed for migraine prophylaxis can have intolerable side effects or can be ineffective. Neuromodulation techniques are increasingly used in neurology. Transcutaneous supraorbital nerve stimulation is effective in episodic migraine prevention, whereas vagus nerve stimulation provides interesting results in acute migraine therapy. Transcranial stimulation techniques gave variable, and sometimes contradictory, results. The visual cortex is the target of choice in migraine: studies in migraine prevention and aura acute treatment are encouraging. These noninvasive therapies appear safe with a low rate of side effects. Available studies of invasive occipital nerve stimulation in chronic migraine gave modest results; but invasive occipital nerve stimulation offers a new hope to highly disabled patients who failed to respond to any other treatment. In the future, neuromodulation will probably take an increasing place in migraine treatment, as add-on therapy or alternative to medications, especially because of its attractive safety profile.

Keywords: direct current stimulation; magnetic stimulation; migraine; neuromodulation; occipital nerve; peripheral nerve; supraorbital nerve; treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation