Treatment of intractable hemicrania continua by occipital nerve stimulation

Authors: Sarah Miller, Laurence Watkins, Manjit S Matharu
Source: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, Vol. 88, Issue 9,


Hemicrania continua (HC) is characterised by a strictly unilateral continuous headache with ipsilateral autonomic features and migrainous symptoms that is exquisitely sensitive to indomethacin.1 As more than 30% of patients report side effects with indomethacin, there is need for an effective and safe alternative. Although several drugs have been used in open-label studies, none offer the same magnitude of response.

Occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) has been performed in headache conditions such as chronic migraine and chronic cluster headache, both conditions with clinical similarities to HC and appears to be a safe, potentially efficacious treatment even in those failing all available medical treatments.2 We report the long-term follow-up of a new cohort of 16 patients with HC treated with ONS.

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