No efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation on chronic migraine with medication overuse: A double blind, randomised clinical trial

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Abstract

Background: Transcranial direct current stimulation was suggested to provide beneficial effects in chronic migraine, a condition often associated with medication overuse for which no long-term therapy is available. Methods: We conducted a randomised controlled trial to assess long-term efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation. Adults diagnosed with chronic migraine and medication overuse were assigned to receive in a 1:1:1 ratio anodal, cathodal, or sham transcranial direct current stimulation daily for five consecutive days, along with standardised drug withdrawal protocol. Primary outcome was 50% reduction of days of headache per month at 12 months. Co-secondary outcomes were 50% reduction of days of headache per month at 6 months, reduction of analgesic intake per month, and change in disability and quality of life, catastrophising, depression, state and trait anxiety, dependence attitude and allodynia intensity. Patients were not allowed to take any migraine prophylaxis drug for the entire study period. Results: We randomly allocated 135 patients to anodal (44), cathodal (45), and sham (46) transcranial direct current stimulation. At 6 and 12 months, the percentage of reduction of days of headache and number of analgesics per month ranged between 48.5% and 64.7%, without differences between transcranial direct current stimulation (cathodal, anodal, or the results obtained from the two arms of treatment, anodal plus cathodal) and sham. Catastrophising attitude significantly reduced at 12 months in all groups. There was no difference for the other secondary outcomes. Conclusions: Transcranial direct current stimulation did not influence the short and long-term course of chronic migraine with medication overuse after acute drug withdrawal. Behavioral and educational measures and support for patients’ pain management could provide long-term improvement and low relapse rate. Trial registration number NCT04228809

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1211
Number of pages10
JournalCephalalgia
Volume40
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020

Keywords

  • drug withdrawal
  • headache
  • Non-invasive stimulation
  • pain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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