Most people at some time or another deal with headaches. For most, they’re just minor inconveniences – brief periods when you’re just not feeling up to par. For others, however, their headaches can be debilitating. Migraines can cause otherwise healthy adults to have to shut themselves away, unable to work or even function for the duration of their affliction. A May 2009 study by the Mayo Clinic estimated that “approximately 18% of women and 6% of men experience at least 1 migraine headache per year.” Interestingly, as age decreases, the percentages seem to increase. It is estimated that 28 percent of teens between the ages of 15 and 19 suffer from migraine headaches.
For most teenagers, life means school and friends and football games. But for many of these migraine-suffering youth, their days are spent either enduring the pain of a headache or anticipating when the next one will hit. Up until now, the only relief available to them was medication. And, unfortunately, many of the prescriptions available have significant side effects. But hope has now come for these teenage headache sufferers.
On Monday, January 25, Theranica, a digital therapeutics company based in Netanya, Israel, announced that their Nerivio Migra device was approved by the US FDA for use by those age 12 and over. This device – an armband worn on the upper arm – brings relief through neuromodulation. According to the company’s website, this fancy word describes the triggering of non-painful stimulation that sends signals up what’s called C-fibers to the back part of the brain. These signals turn off the activation of the brainstem pain regulation center that is responsible for the migraine pain. While that may seem complicated, what teens need to know is that once they put the armband on they’ll start getting relief. And to make it even more appealing to the younger generations, it’s controlled by a smartphone app with functionality that allows a personalizing of treatment and also tracks the frequency, intensity, and duration of one’s migraine history.
CEO and co-founder of Theranica, Alon Ironi, said, “Teens are one of the most vulnerable migraine populations and we are happy to provide them with a user-friendly tool to get them back to their daily lives as quickly as possible.” The Israeli-developed device has found great praise in the medical community. Dr. Jennifer McVige, a board-certified physician in pediatric neurology, adult and pediatric headache and neuroimaging at the DENT Neurologic Institute, said, “Teens do not always want to take pills, and some may be unable to do so due to various contraindications…. Nerivio is an efficacious smartphone-controlled tech solution that can be worn inconspicuously and is the perfect design for teens…. Nerivio is a promising new option with potential to help thousands of young patients.”
The teen years are difficult enough without having to deal with chronic migraines. Thankfully, one Israeli company will now be bringing hope for a full and normal life to thousands of teens who otherwise would have been limited by their pain.
I Burton, Wayne N, et al. “The Impact of Migraine and the Effect of Migraine Treatment on Workplace Productivity in the United States and Suggestions for Future Research.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, May 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676126/.
ii No Camels Team. “Israeli Device Gets FDA Approval For Migraine Treatment In Adolescents.” Nocamels: Israeli Innovation News, 26 Jan. 2021, nocamels.com/2021/01/israeli-device-gets-fda-approval-for-migraine-treatment-in-adolescents/.
iii “Migraine Pain Relief Device.” Theranica, 25 Jan. 2021, theranica.com/technology/.
iv “Thereapeutic Device for Migraine Treatment Granted FDA Clearance.” Med, 26 Jan. 2021, www.med-technews.com/news/Medtech-Regulatory-News/thereapeutic-device-for-migraine-treatment-granted-fda-clear/.
v Theranica. FDA Approves Theranica’s Nerivio® for Acute Treatment of Migraine in Adolescents, 25 Jan. 2021, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fda-approves-theranicas-nerivio-for-acute-treatment-of-migraine-in-adolescents-301213967.html.