The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a draft guidance recommending the use of electroCore’s gammaCore device on the National Health Service (NHS).
GammaCore is a handheld non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator that aims to modify pain signals for the prevention and treatment of cluster headaches and migraines in adults. NICE’s guidance covers use for cluster headaches.
NICE noted that adjunctive use of the device with standard care, including sumatriptan, zolmitriptan and oxygen, could save the NHS £450 per patient in the first year when compared to standard care alone.
The guidance further noted that patients should initially trial gammaCore for three months before using it more permanently. This recommendation has been made because the device is not effective in all people with cluster headaches.
According to clinical experts, approximately 25% of cluster headache patients in the UK are likely to achieve a treatment response to gammaCore.
NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation director Meindert Boysen said: “The committee heard that on average five people a year in the UK end their lives because they are no longer able to live with the pain of cluster headaches.
“We’re pleased, therefore, to be able to recommend this innovative, simple to use treatment, which has been shown to provide benefits for around a quarter of people who use it.
“And by decreasing the need for treatments to stop the symptoms of an acute attack of cluster headache, using gammaCore could be cost-saving for the NHS.”
NICE published a positive Medtech Innovation Briefing (MIB) regarding the device in October last year.
NHS England accelerated access collaborative chief executive Dr Sam Roberts noted: “Today’s recommendation from NICE is a great endorsement for this device, which the NHS is already offering free of charge to patients to help alleviate painful symptoms and empower them to claim back their ordinary daily lives.”