Treatment of migraine by inhalation of CO2 and oxygen

By mobilizing some natural body molecules through a small inhaler, patients suffering from migraine with aura can either reduce medication or give it up altogether. This was shown by a small pilot study published in the journal Cephalalgia.

Eleven patients participated in the pilot study and will now be followed by a large clinical trial. The study included patients suffering from migraine with aura, in which aesthetic or visual disturbances appear before the painful headaches begin.

Lead researcher was Troels Johansen, who conducted the study in his doctoral thesis at the Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark. Johansen explained that migraines happen as part of a chain reaction in which the vessels in the brain contract and the blood can not therefore provide adequate oxygen.

“We use CO2 and oxygen, the body’s natural molecules to mobilize its own defense against migraine attacks. The inhaler dilates the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen up to 70% and thus stops the destructive chain reaction, “said Johansen, adding that the effect of treatment begins after a few seconds.

The pilot study was conducted in 2016-2017 and one of its results was the significant relief of pain with every use of the inhaler. 45% felt relief for the first time and this figure rose to 78% the second time.

“The study shows some very important physiological effects on the body,” said Johansen, who is currently teaching at the Aarhus University School of Engineering. Together with his team of associates, he put the inhalation device for production through BalancAir.

Since the pilot project is limited to a migraine with aura and included only 11 patients, Johansen plans to conduct a large clinical trial that will also include migraine patients without aura and chronic migraine.