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Papers of the Week

2021 Jul 28

Pharmacoecon Open

gammaCore for Cluster Headaches: A NICE Medical Technologies Guidance.


O'Connell S, Dale M, Morgan H, Carter K, Morris R, Carolan-Rees G
Pharmacoecon Open. 2021 Jul 28.
PMID: 34322861.


Cluster headaches are excruciating attacks of pain that can last between 15 min and 3 h. Cluster headaches can be episodic, where patients have long pain-free intervals between attacks, or chronic, where they do not. As part of the Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) considered the clinical effectiveness and cost impact of gammaCore (electroCore), a handheld, patient-controlled device used to treat and prevent cluster headache. gammaCore is a non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator, the aim of which is to modify pain signals by stimulating the vagus nerve through the skin of the neck. Evidence suggests that gammaCore reduces the intensity and frequency of cluster headaches and that the addition of gammaCore to standard care is cost saving. Therefore, the guidance published by NICE in December 2019 recommends routine adoption of gammaCore into the UK national health service. However, the guidance noted that gammaCore does not work for everyone and recommended that treatment with gammaCore should stop after 3 months in patients whose symptoms do not improve.