The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of electroCore’s gammaCore device on the National Health Service (NHS).
The gammaCore is a handheld device that provides a small electric current for the prevention and treatment of cluster headaches. The small and portable device has been designed to use at any place.
Cluster headaches are one the most painful type of headaches, which is said to affect around 100,000 people in the UK.
According to the NICE, the use of gammaCore in addition to standard care will help save the NHS £450 per patient in the first year compared to standard care alone.
NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation director Meindert Boysen said: “Cluster headaches are excruciatingly painful and debilitating and can have a huge effect on a person’s life including affecting their ability to work or do normal activities.
“Many people with the condition don’t get enough pain relief with current treatment options, which are often used off-label and limited by side effects and contraindications. The committee heard that on average 5 people a year in the UK end their lives because they are no longer able to live with the pain of cluster headaches.”
The guidance also recommended that gammaCore should only be used following a three-month trial period, as it is not effective in all patients with cluster headache.
Clinical experts advise that around 25% of people in the UK with cluster headache are expected to respond to treatment with gammaCore.
electroCore’s gammaCore works to modify pain signals by stimulating the vagus nerve via skin of the neck. It can be used to reduce pain when the person feels a cluster headache starting or daily to help prevent cluster headaches.
NHS England innovation and life sciences director and Accelerated Access Collaborative chief executive Dr Sam Roberts said: “The health service has long been at the forefront of driving innovation, and as we start to deliver our ambitious Long Term Plan we want the NHS to be a world leader in adopting life-changing innovations.”