National Military Appreciation Month commemorates and expresses gratitude for the sacrifices current and former members of the U.S. armed forces have made for our country’s freedom. electroCore, Inc., a commercial-stage bioelectronic medicine company, is dedicated to the advancement and accessibility of healthcare solutions for veterans and hopes this important commemorative month will keep the health and treatment of military personnel top of mind.
“As a result of their service, our veterans experience health challenges unique to their demographic such as burn pit exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI),” says Peter Staats, MD, Chief Medical Officer of electroCore and Chief Medical Officer at the National Spine and Pain Centers. “These ailments can lead to lifelong pain. In fact, a staggering 92% of military personnel are silently suffering from associated symptoms connected with TBI such as chronic headache, cluster headache, post-traumatic headache, and migraine.”
electroCore has found success in preventing and treating migraine and cluster headache in the veteran community through its non-drug, non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (nVNS) device, gammaCore SapphireTM, which has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA. The vagus nerve serves as the communication superhighway carrying information between the brain and internal organs and has a direct role in regulating pain in the human body. When the vagus nerve is electrically stimulated via nVNS, it can prevent and provide relief from migraines and cluster headaches.
“Migraine, cluster headache, and other headache conditions can severely disrupt work, activities, or time spent with friends and family, becoming an overall impairment to daily living,” says Sara Sacco, MD, Neurologist with the Carolinas Headache Clinic who often treats veterans within the Charlotte, North Carolina region. “As a headache specialist, I make it a top priority to guide veterans to the appropriate avenue of treatment for these disabling conditions and give them the tools to help them reclaim their lives. I encourage all veterans to ask providers and learn more about non-pharmaceutical, alternative treatments, including non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation for migraine and cluster headache, and seek the treatment they deserve and put the control back into their hands.”
gammaCore Sapphire is available through the VA and in military treatment facilities at no charge to patients through Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) eligible entities which covers over nine million veterans and active military personnel. With access to this treatment, veterans have already seen positive results in preventing and treating cluster headache and migraine.
Jess Ayers served almost a decade in the Navy, including tours on two submarines, and was also a part of Operation Deep Freeze. 23 years following retirement, injuries from an accident while rebuilding an air force runway led him down the dark road of migraine.
“It’s just been headache after headache,” says Jess. “The light bothers me. It’s a stabbing pain on the left or right side of my head, like someone is sticking a poker through my eye or over my forehead. I have tension in the back of my neck and a lot of pressure, and it feels like my brain is in a vice.”
With no success in using prescription drugs, he met with a new neurologist who suggested gammaCore as a possible solution.
“The migraines started going away. I didn’t have to wait three or four months with gammaCore. After three or four treatments, my headaches were gone,” says Jess. “I was able to start doing things and feel like a human being again. It’s my go-to. I believe gammaCore should be available to everyone.”
electroCore remains at the forefront of veteran clinical research. Currently electroCore is exploring nVNS as a potential treatment for mild TBI and PTSD alongside Atlanta VA Medical Center, one of several studies that are testament to electroCore’s dedication to improving the lives of veterans and active military personnel.
“More doctors need to know this therapy exists and how it can help their patients for migraine and cluster headache,” says Eric Liebler, Senior Vice President of Neurology at electroCore. “Our team is studying other applications of nVNS therapy’s effectiveness such as post traumatic headache, as nVNS has the potential to change how we look at treating many diseases.”
About electroCore, Inc.
electroCore, Inc. is a commercial stage bioelectronic medicine company dedicated to improving patient outcomes through its platform non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy initially focused on the treatment of multiple conditions in neurology. The company’s current indications are the preventative treatment of cluster headache and migraine and acute treatment of migraine and episodic cluster headache.
For more information, visit www.electrocore.com.
gammaCoreTM (nVNS) is the first non-invasive, hand-held medical therapy applied at the neck as an adjunctive therapy to treat migraine and cluster headache through the utilization of a mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve that passes through the skin. Designed as a portable, easy-to-use technology, gammaCore can be self-administered by patients, as needed, without the potential side effects associated with commonly prescribed drugs. When placed on a patient’s neck over the vagus nerve, gammaCore stimulates the nerve’s afferent fibers, which may lead to a reduction of pain in patients.
gammaCore is FDA cleared in the United States for adjunctive use for the preventive treatment of cluster headache in adult patients, the acute treatment of pain associated with episodic cluster headache in adult patients, and the acute and preventive treatment of migraine in adolescent (ages 12 and older) and adult patients. gammaCore is CE-marked in the European Union for the acute and/or prophylactic treatment of primary headache (Migraine, Cluster Headache, Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias and Hemicrania Continua) and Medication Overuse Headache in adults.
gammaCore is contraindicated for patients if they:
- Have an active implantable medical device, such as a pacemaker, hearing aid implant, or any implanted electronic device
- Have a metallic device, such as a stent, bone plate, or bone screw, implanted at or near the neck
- Are using another device at the same time (e.g., TENS Unit, muscle stimulator) or any portable electronic device (e.g., mobile phone)
Safety and efficacy of gammaCore have not been evaluated in the following patients:
- Patients diagnosed with narrowing of the arteries (carotid atherosclerosis)
- Patients who have had surgery to cut the vagus nerve in the neck (cervical vagotomy)
- Pediatric patients (younger than 12 years)
- Pregnant women
- Patients with clinically significant hypertension, hypotension, bradycardia, or tachycardia