C2 nerve field stimulation for the treatment of fibromyalgia : a prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled cross-over study
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
, p. 751-757
University of Antwerp
Background: Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by widespread chronic pain. Due to the high prevalence and high costs, it has a substantial burden on society. Treatment results are diverse and only help a small subset of patients. C2 nerve field stimulation, aka occipital nerve stimulation, is helpful and a minimally invasive treatment for primary headache syndromes. Small C2 pilot studies seem to be beneficial in fibromyalgia. Methods: Forty patients were implanted with a subcutaneous electrode in the C2 dermatoma as part of a prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled cross-over study followed by an open label follow up period of 6 months. The patients underwent 2 week periods of different doses of stimulation consisting of minimal (.1 mA), subthreshold, and suprathreshold (for paresthesias) in a randomized order. Twenty seven patients received a permanent implant and 25 completed the 6 month open label follow up period. Results: During the 6 week trial phase of the study, patients had an overall decrease of 36% on the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ), a decrease of 33% fibromyalgia pain and improvement of 42% on the impact on daily life activities and quality. These results imply an overall improvement in the disease burden, maintained at 6 months follow up, as well as an improvement in life quality of 50%. Seventy six percent of patients were satisfied or very satisfied with their treatment. There seems to be a dose-response curve, with increasing amplitudes leading to better clinical outcomes. Conclusion: Subcutaneous C2 nerve field stimulation seems to offer a safe and effective treatment option for selected medically intractable patients with fibromyalgia. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.