My experience with Cefaly (long)

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My experience with Cefaly (long)

Post  lorente on Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:43 am

I have now used the Cefaly visor for one month. (It's like a TENS unit, although technically I don't think it is, recently approved by the FDA for prevention and treatment of migraines. Should be available via prescription in the US--OTC in Europe--now or soon. Mine came from the UK.)

Some history: For the past three years, March has been the time of year when I get migraines almost daily. Then they taper off to "normal," which is two or three a month, some lasting three or four days each. This year, I kept strict track from mid-February until the present day, so I could report to my dr, who wants to put me on Topamax. I currently take generic Maxalt, which is really hit-or-miss, and hydrocodone for any after-effects when the migraine is over. While visiting my sister a few weeks back, I found out about the Cefaly visor. I had migraines four of the eight days I was at her house, and, in the midst of the worst one, she went online (without my knowledge) and bought me a Cefaly from the UK.

I've used the Cefaly 26 days out of the last 28. I've had 6 migraines since I started using it, compared with 9 migraines during the four weeks prior to using it (and 2 more the week before that).

Overall, the 6 migraines I've had so far using the Cefaly did not seem as disabling as they usually are:

1. I took meds only twice and did not have to be in bed at all for four of them (a new experience for me. I didn't feel great, but I usually spend hours in bed in pain, and that happened only two of the six times.).

2. Although I had some nausea with one of the migraines, I did not vomit once during these six migraines (also new for me and such a welcome change. For me, it might be worth it just for that.).

3. During the two worst migraines, the pain was just as severe as it always was. One was the usual, all-day experience with pain most of the morning. The other started at about 6 a.m. and lasted until about 11:30 a.m., but I slept through about three hours of that, also a new experience because I have never slept through the pain ever.

4. I usually have after-effects after the pain goes away and I've slept -- grogginess, foggy brain, kind of an immobilization that lasts 12 to 24 hours. After one of the migraines, my head actually felt "clear," and I was able to go about my day as if I'd never had the migraine. First and only time that has ever happened.

5. My migraines before Cefaly tended to last three or four days at a time, usually with pain in the morning that goes away during the day but returns the next morning. While using the Cefaly, I've had only one migraine that returned the next morning, but the second day was not bad at all, and I could function, get out of bed, shower, etc.

6. The Cefaly takes some getting used to. The sensations can seem very weird and uncomfortable (to me) at first. You are supposed to use it daily for at least 20 minutes, and you're supposed to use it during a migraine. There are three programs, and you can adjust the programs to the strength you want. The instructions encourage you to use the "relaxation program" once or twice and then go right to the "migraine prevention" program, or to the "migraine treatment" program if you're having a migraine. You can further adjust each "program" to the strength you want.

I find it a bit difficult to use the migraine treatment mode; the last thing I want when I'm having a migraine is to feel even more sensations in my brain. My migraines tend to be centered on the trigeminal nerve--which Cefaly is especially designed to treat--but frankly I'm not crazy about having that nerve "massaged" electrically when it's convulsed with pain. The first time I used the treatment program, the pain got much worse but then stopped completely after about half an hour, but that was the only time that happened. During four of the six migraines, the Cefaly did either lessen the pain or shorten the duration of the experience; it did nothing for one of the six migraines.

7. The device comes with one glue-backed electrode, which you stick on your forehead; the Cefaly sits on the electrode. They say the glue lasts 15-20 days, but in my experience, the glue starts to dry out in 10 or 12 days. If the electrode isn't well-glued to your forehead, the Cefaly automatically shuts off. I'd advise buying a packet of 3 electrodes (which also require a prescription in the US) if and when you purchase the visor. I'm on my 27th day of use, and I already need to replace the second one.

8. You are supposed to be able to tell after 15 days of daily use whether it is working for you and within a month for sure. I'm thinking it will take longer than that to really know, since most people have a variety of triggers. One of mine seems to be the weather and change of seasons, so I'm not going to get too cocky about this thing quite yet. I also am starting to experiment with the programs; they can seem intense, and I want to see if the gentlest mode will get the same results. I have tried to follow the modes suggested during the first month, but sometimes the gentlest one was just enough, particularly after a migraine when my scalp is tender.

The cons and other things to know:
1. The cost ($300, plus $25 to $36 for a pack of 3 electrodes; I don't know if health insurance covers this in the US since mine was a gift and came from the UK).

2. The electrodes dry out more quickly than advertised, even though I care for them as directed.

3. It takes some getting used to and can be difficult for me to want to use it during a migraine, so I'm still trying to adjust to that.

4. It doesn't stop a migraine in its tracks, at least not for me, and I don't think it's advertised as being able to do that. Just so you know. It's the daily use and the use during the migraine that seemed to work during the studies, not just using it only when you have a migraine.

Would I buy this again? Considering that for the past two years in March I had almost daily migraines in this same time period and this year I had 6? Yes. But only time will tell if the Cefaly is really doing something, if other factors are contributing, or if the Cefaly will continue to help. My experience is certainly no scientific study, so I will not recommend it one way or the other.

Please take this info as only one person's month-long experience and not an endorsement or recommendation for anyone else. And I hope this has been helpful. I will try to answer any questions. -- Carol


Last edited by lorente on Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correct electrode replacement)

lorente

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Re: My experience with Cefaly (long)

Post  melody27888 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:49 pm

Thank you so much for posting about your experiences with the Cefaly. I've been curious about this for a while. Please keep us updated on your progress with it. I'd be curious to see how it effects your migraines in the long run.

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Re: My experience with Cefaly (long)

Post  Kem10 on Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:46 am

Yes, thank you very much for posting your experience with this new device. Please continue to update us as to it's benefit over the longer term.
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Re: My experience with Cefaly (long)

Post  tortoisegirl on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:03 pm

Thanks for sharing! I hope it ends up being helpful for you long term. Best wishes.

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