San Francisco, Calif., March 25, 2014 – The California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF), a flagship initiative of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), announced that it will hold a public meeting to assess various treatment options for migraine headaches on July 11, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA. CTAF’s public deliberation of the evidence will provide clarity and guidance to clinicians, insurers, and patients confronted with decisions on how best to treat migraines. The meeting is timely given the recent FDA approval of a new hand–held device producing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treating migraines. The device delivers magnetic pulses to the head and is available by prescription only. It is approved for use after the onset of pain associated with migraine headaches preceded by an aura. When using this device, patients may continue to use regular medications, including drugs to prevent migraines.

“While a new device has recently been approved by the FDA, many patients continue to struggle with managing migraine headaches, making this an opportune time to conduct a review of the various treatment options,” stated Steven D. Pearson, MD, MSc, President of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. “There are multiple existing migraine treatment options with wide variation in practice patterns and coverage policies, and professional society guidelines have not yet been updated to address the appropriate use of the new device. In addition to a thorough review of the evidence on clinical effectiveness and cost, CTAF will work with patient groups, clinicians, and other decision makers to develop recommendations for applying the latest evidence to policy and practice to improve the quality and value of the care migraine patients receive.”

Migraine headaches are severe headaches that cause throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on only one side of the head. These headaches are often associated with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. They can start suddenly and get worse quickly and generally last between 4-72 hours. Migraines affect about 12% of the population, and they are three times more common in women than in men. Migraine headaches can interfere with sleep, work, and other everyday activities.

Although migraine cannot be cured, there are a range of options to treat symptoms once a migraine starts. Simple migraine attacks are often treated with caffeine and over-the-counter pain medications. Patients with more severe and/or numerous headaches are often prescribed one of the triptan class of drugs, which account for the greatest portion of costs for treatments for acute migraines. There are several drugs in this class, varying greatly in cost. Most payers have prescription limits and use tiering to manage triptan utilization. Other treatments include nerve blocks, botulinum toxin type A injections, and acupuncture.

CTAF’s review will include evidence on major treatment options including the recently-approved TMS device and various drug regimens. The review will also identify delivery system approaches to treating patients with migraines that can be identified as best practices.

Meeting Details
Date: Friday, July 11, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM PT
Location: Los Angeles, CA (Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel at LAX)

Members of the public wishing to attend the meeting should register by July 3, 2014 by clicking here. The draft evidence report that will form the basis of the CTAF meeting will be posted to the CTAF website on or about June 11, 2014. The CTAF website also includes instructions for those wishing to submit written comments prior to the meeting, and for those requesting the opportunity to make public comments at the meeting. Members of the public wishing to deliver an oral comment during the public meeting must email by 5:00 PM PT Thursday, July 3, 2014. Availability of time slots for public comments is limited.

An audio recording of the July 11, 2014 meeting will be made available on the CTAF website following the meeting for members of the public unable to attend the in-person meeting.

About CTAF
The California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF), a flagship initiative of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, is dedicated to providing credible, evidence-based information about new and emerging medical technologies and delivery system interventions. For more information about CTAF, please visit

About ICER
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is an independent non-profit health care research organization dedicated to improving the interpretation and application of evidence in the health care system. For more information about ICER, please visit ICER’s website: