Information for the public
What has NICE said?
NICE has looked at using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) during the aura before or at the start of a migraine attack, with the aim of stopping or reducing the severity of the attack ('treatment'), or at planned intervals, with the aim of reducing the frequency and/or severity of attacks ('prevention').
There is not much good evidence about how well this procedure works in the treatment of migraine, or how well it works and how safe it is to use it frequently or in the long term for preventing migraine. It should only be used if extra care is taken to explain the risks and extra steps are put in place to record and review what happens.
A specialist headache clinic should decide which patients should be offered this procedure and it should only be used under the direction of doctors specialising in managing headaches. Patients should be told that the procedure is not intended to cure migraine and reduction in migraine symptoms may be moderate.
More research on magnetic stimulation of the brain for treating and preventing migraine is needed.
What does this mean for me?
Your health professional should fully explain what is involved in having this procedure and discuss the possible benefits and risks with you. In particular, they should explain the uncertainty about the evidence on how likely it is to improve your symptoms and possible side effects. You should also be told how to find more information about the procedure. You should only be asked if you want to agree to this procedure after having this discussion.
Your health professional may ask you if details of your procedure can be collected.
Other comments from NICE
NICE said that the procedure might be useful for patients who want or need to reduce or stop taking drugs for their migraine, for example during pregnancy.