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FDA approves first magnetic migraine treatment

Millions of Americans suffer from migraines every year, and while there's no known cure, there is a new, drug-free treatment on the market. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a new magnetic device, known as a Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator. (Via eNeura)

It works by stimulating the occipital cortex in the brain. Users hold the device to the back of their heads and press a button which releases a pulse of magnetic energy.

This new device helps relieve pain in migraines preceded by what's referred to as aura — those type of migraines have warning signs like dizziness or trouble seeing. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Dr. Arne May

​In a clinical trial of 201 patients who suffered from migraines, FDA researchers found nearly 38 percent of those who used the device were pain-free within two hours after using it. That’s compared to 17 percent among those in the control group that didn’t use the device. (Via National Headache Foundation9 News)

Two hours may sound like a long time, but experts say it's a big improvement considering some migraines can last up to 72 hours. (Via NBC)

The FDA notes the device helped with migraine pain, but not other problems associated with migraines, including light sensitivity and nausea.

One migraine expert told HealthDay: "Although this device is unwieldy, it may be a preferred choice by those who don't want [drug] treatment."

The FDA says side effects, like dizziness, from the device were rare, but there were single instances of sinusitis, inability to speak and vertigo. 

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