Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: April 2023 | Last updated: September 2023
Neuromodulating devices may be of interest to adults with migraine. These devices can be used along with – or instead of – therapy with migraine drugs. Neuromodulation refers to changing or manipulating brain activity.1,2
The Relivion® MG is a wearable neuromodulating device used for treating acute migraine attacks. It is available with a prescription to people at least 18 years old. It is helpful for people with migraine disease whether or not they have aura.3
How does Relivion MG work?
The Relivion MG delivers an electrical pulse through the skin. The pulse targets 2 major head and facial nerve groups: the occipital nerves and the trigeminal nerves.2,3
The occipital nerve group branches off from the spinal cord at the upper neck. These nerve bundles ascend up the back of the scalp and to the ears. The trigeminal nerve begins roughly at the top front of the ear. It branches into thirds to the eyes, across the cheeks, and along the jaw.2,4,5
The Relivion MG device delivers targeted electrical pulses to 6 branches of these 2 nerve groups. This differs from most other neuromodulating devices which target 1 main nerve. It is worn as an adjustable headset. Three pairs of electrodes contact locations where the targeted nerves lay beneath the skin: 1 pair on the scalp and 2 pairs on the forehead.6
How effective is the Relivion MG?
One study compared migraine pain symptoms in adults with episodic and chronic migraine. Study participants used either the Relivion MG or a placebo treatment. Members of both groups used the device they were assigned for 40 to 80 minutes within 45 minutes of a migraine attack starting.6
One hour after treatment ended, half of the people who used Relivion MG reported less pain intensity. That is compared to 1 in 10 people who used the placebo.6
Also, compared to the people who used the placebo:6
- Twice as many people who used Relivion MG reported pain relief 1 and 2 hours after treatment ended.
- A quarter more people who used Relivion MG reported less pain intensity 1 day after their last treatment.
- A third more of the people with moderate-to-severe pain who used Relivion MG reported being pain-free 1 day after their last treatment.
Another study also compared Relivion MG to a placebo treatment. This study found that 3 out of 5 people who used Relivion MG experienced pain relief within 2 hours. Further, more than 4 times as many people who used Relivion MG still felt pain-free without medicine 24 hours later than did people who used the placebo.7
What are the possible side effects?
Side effects can vary depending on the specific treatment you are using. But they may include:3
- Pressure, pain, dizziness, nausea, or an unpleasant sensation
- Numbness in the scalp during or after use
- Tingling that lasts after the treatment ends
- Sleepiness, fatigue, or disrupted sleep
Some people may experience skin reactions near where the electrode contacts the skin. These reactions include irritation, temporary redness, or burns. If any of these happens, stop using the device and contact your doctor.3
Some people may experience headache or migraine.3
These are not all the possible side effects of Relivion MG. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when using Relivion MG. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when using Relivion MG.
Other things to know
Before using this device, talk to your doctor if you:3
- Are pregnant
- Are considering getting pregnant
- Have heart issues.
If you have any of the following, do not use the Relivion MG:3
- Metal implants or shrapnel in the skull (dental implants do not count)
- Recent brain or facial trauma
- Broken skin or wounds on the forehead or base of the skull
- Implanted neurostimulators
Before beginning treatment for migraine disease, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you take. This includes over-the-counter drugs.