Sunday, November 25, 2018

GammaCore and More

My own personal piece of medical trash

The good the bad and the ugly

My one-month free trial of the GammaCore medical device has highlighted both the best and the worst that our Western medical system has offered up to those of us who live with migraine disease.  It is one of three non-invasive neuromodulation devices currently on the market, approved by the FDA, for treatment of migraine and/or cluster headache.  GammaCore targets the vagus nerve.  The other devices are the SpringTMS, which targets the cortex of the brain, altering neurotransmitter release and disrupting cortical spreading depression, and the Cephaly, which targets the supraorbital nerve, a branch of the trigeminal (cranial) nerve.

The GOOD news is GammaCore works for me.  It's not a slam dunk, but sometimes it is an effective abortive when neither my oral medication, Naratriptan, nor the SpringTMS knocks out the migraine.  It is particularly useful when I have stomach or abdominal pain, a frequent symptom.

The BAD news is that my month is up, and I can't afford a "subscription" at a rate of $600.00 per month or about $7,000.00 per year, and there is no way my Regence health insurance will pay for it.  And, by the way, you can't purchase this gizmo.

The really UGLY part, aside from the fact that most people who need it can't afford it, is that for about two years, until very recently, GammaCore was designed as a single-use, throw-away piece of garbage once it expired.  At the end of one month, you were told to trash it "responsibly" like a busted cell phone.  Electrocore, the parent company, then sent you another identical device to soon trash and add to the global waste stream.  There was really nothing wrong with these expired devices.  They were designed with a timer inside to shut down after 30 days.  The batteries were still functional as were the rest of the components.

Art Outrage

On the premise that people at large should know about this kind of stuff and as a way to express my own anger and outrage, I plan to make a piece of art.  So............ PLEASE SEND ME YOUR EXPIRED GammaCore devices.  I promise to use them to make art and work to display the finished piece for public viewing.  Look for contact information at my new website below or add a comment to this blog post.

Finally - An end and a beginning

This will be the last ArtofMigraine post.  I am migrating all to a new blog and website at
I hope to see you there.