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US FDA approves use of electric headband to prevent migraines

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it approved a Belgium-made nerve-stimulating headband as the first medical device to prevent migraine headaches.

Agency officials said the device provides a new option for patients who cannot tolerate migraine medications.

The Cefaly device is a battery-powered plastic band worn across the forehead. Using an adhesive electrode, the band emits a low electrical current to stimulate nerves associated with migraine pain. Users may feel a tingling sensation on the skin where the electrode is applied. The device is designed to be used no more than 20 minutes a day by patients 18 years and older.

A 67-person study reviewed by the FDA showed patients using the device experienced fewer migraines per month than patients using a placebo device. The Cefaly headband did not completely eliminate migraine headaches or reduce the intensity of migraines that occurred.

About 53 percent of 2,313 patients in a separate study said they were satisfied with the device and were willing to purchase it for future use.

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