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RFID Controls Headache Pain Treatment

ElectroCore has developed an RFID-based method to control the dispensing of vagus nerve stimulation treatment to help those with cluster headaches or migraines relieve their pain.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 19, 2018

Neuromodulation technology company electroCore has released a non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator that employs radio frequency identification technology to prompt the operation of the device according to the needs of a specific patient. The portable device, known as gammaCore Sapphire, provides adult patients to treat acute pain from migraines or cluster headaches within their own home, without requiring medication. It comes with an RFID reader that interrogates passive RFID tags built into prescribed refill cards.

Passive HF RFID enables a user to receive a prescription for stimulation treatments, which is transmitted to the device itself so that it can provide the prescribed number of uses. The New Jersey company designed gammaCore Sapphire to deliver gentle stimulation when placed on a patient's neck, stimulating the vagus nerve without requiring surgical procedures. It can be prescribed to allow treatments—up to 24 stimulations each day—for up to a month.

GammaCore Sapphire allows adult patients to treat headache pain at home without the need for medication.
ElectroCore was launched in 2005 to provide neuromodulation therapy for patients suffering from a variety of conditions. The first proof-of-concept, carried out in 2006, found that nerve stimulation could benefit patients in multiple ways, the company reports, such as treating asthma or epilepsy. In 2011, the firm gained approval to market its product for headache treatment in Europe. ElectroCore conducted a controlled randomized clinical trial for cluster headache treatment in 2014, then received FDA clearance to provide the device for treating episodic cluster headaches in the United States. The FDA greenlighted the device for migraine headache treatment this year.

Dan Duhart
Cluster headaches are short, extremely painful events, while migraines are relatively less painful but are much more common. Approximately 40 million people suffer from migraines in the United States. More than half of episodic cluster headache patients who tested gammaCore found their headaches went away or were significantly reduced.

Most of those with recurring headaches treat their pain with over-the-counter medications. GammaCoreoffers a non-invasive, drug-free alternative, says Dan Duhart, electroCore's chief commercial officer. The company sells its product through insurance companies and health-care providers. Since the unit was released in July 2018, he adds, approximately 8,000 patients have been using the system. "The FDA clearance allows up to six uses per day," he states.

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