electroCore Announces Publication in Brain Stimulation Highlighting Non-Invasive Vagal Nerve Stimulation’s (nVNS) Potential Role in Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

August 27, 2020 at 8:00 AM EDT

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Aug. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- electroCore, Inc. (Nasdaq: ECOR), a commercial-stage bioelectronic medicine company, today announced the publication of a paper, entitled, “Non-invasive vagal nerve stimulation decreases brain activity during trauma scripts1,” by Wittbrodt, Bremner et. al. in the journal Brain Stimulation.

The paper reports on a double-blind sham-controlled study of nineteen participants who had experienced trauma but did not have the diagnosis of PTSD and highlights the ability of nVNS to decrease the fear associated with emotional stress. The authors hypothesized that nVNS could mitigate the stress associated with traumatic triggers compared to a sham device based on its ability to decrease the level of neural activity in areas of the brain believed to be responsible for the negative reaction.

Throughout several regions of the brain, stimulation with nVNS lead to significant (P<0.005) improvements in the brain’s ability to react to and process traumatic stimuli as measured by High Resolution Positron Emission Tomography (HR-PET). The data further suggests the activity of nVNS was seen immediately upon exposure to the traumatic stimuli and provided a benefit throughout the duration of emotional stress. The authors suggest that the results of this study provide evidence that nVNS may have utility as a treatment for many psychiatric disorders such as PTSD.

Dr. Doug Bremner, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Radiology at the Emory University School of Medicine and an author of the study, commented, “Current treatments for PTSD, including medications and psychotherapy, have limitations. In fact, a report from the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is insufficient evidence for standard antidepressant treatments for PTSD. In light of that, new forms of treatment are needed, and non-invasive VNS is a good candidate that could be widely implemented in the field of psychiatry.”

“We compliment the authors on the publication of this rigorous research highlighting nVNS as a possible treatment for conditions like PTSD for which there are few well studied or available treatments,” said Peter Staats, MD, Chief Medical Officer of electroCore. “We look forward to announcing additional grant supported studies in this area as they are initiated.”

The paper is available via open access at: https://www.brainstimjrnl.com/article/S1935-861X(20)30199-6/fulltext

This work was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biological Technologies Office (BTO) Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program through the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Cooperative Agreement No. N66001-16-4054. See publication for disclosures.

About gammaCore™
gammaCore™ (nVNS) is the first non-invasive, hand-held medical therapy applied at the neck as an adjunctive therapy to treat migraine and cluster headache through the utilization of a mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve that passes through the skin. Designed as a portable, easy-to-use technology, gammaCore can be self-administered by patients, as needed, without the potential side effects associated with commonly prescribed drugs. When placed on a patient’s neck over the vagus nerve, gammaCore stimulates the nerve’s afferent fibers, which may lead to a reduction of pain in patients. 

gammaCore is FDA cleared in the United States for adjunctive use for the preventive treatment of cluster headache in adult patients, the acute treatment of pain associated with episodic cluster headache in adult patients, the acute treatment of pain associated with migraine headache in adult patients, and the prevention of migraine in adult patients. gammaCore is CE-marked in the European Union for the acute and/or prophylactic treatment of primary headache (Migraine, Cluster Headache, Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias and Hemicrania Continua) and Medication Overuse Headache in adults. In 2019, NICE published an evidence-based Medical Technology Guidance document recommending the use of gammaCore for cluster headache within NHS England.

  • Safety and efficacy of gammaCore have not been evaluated in the following patients:
    ○ Patients diagnosed with narrowing of the arteries (carotid atherosclerosis)
    ○ Patients who have had surgery to cut the vagus nerve in the neck (cervical vagotomy)
    ○ Pediatric patients
    ○ Pregnant women
    ○ Patients with clinically significant hypertension, hypotension, bradycardia, or tachycardia
  • Patients should not use gammaCore if they:
    ○ Have an active implantable medical device, such as a pacemaker, hearing aid implant, or any implanted electronic device
    ○ Have a metallic device such as a stent, bone plate, or bone screw implanted at or near their neck
    ○ Are using another device at the same time (e.g., TENS Unit, muscle stimulator) or any portable electronic device (e.g., mobile phone)

In the US, the FDA has not cleared gammaCore for the treatment of pneumonia and/or respiratory disorders such as acute respiratory stress disorder associated with COVID-19.

Please refer to the gammaCore Instructions for Use for all of the important warnings and precautions before using or prescribing this product.

The United States FDA has authorized use of the gammaCore Sapphire CV device for acute use at home or in a healthcare setting to treat adult patients with known or suspected COVID-19 who are experiencing exacerbation of asthma-related dyspnea and reduced airflow, and for whom approved drug therapies are not tolerated or provide insufficient symptom relief as assessed by their healthcare provider, by using non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) on either side of the patient’s neck, available under an emergency access mechanism called an EUA.

gammaCore Sapphire CV has neither been cleared nor approved for acute use at home or in a healthcare setting to treat adult patients with known or suspected COVID-19 who are experiencing exacerbation of asthma-related dyspnea and reduced airflow, and for whom approved drug therapies are not tolerated or provide insufficient symptom relief as assessed by their healthcare provider, by using non-invasive Vagus nerve Stimulation (nVNS) on either side of the patient’s neck during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

gammaCore Sapphire CV has been authorized for the above emergency use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization.

gammaCore Sapphire CV has been authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of medical devices under section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked.

Further information is available at:

Authorization Letter: https://www.fda.gov/media/139967/download

Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers: https://www.fda.gov/media/139968/download

Fact Sheet for Patients: https://www.fda.gov/media/139969/download

Instructions for gammaCore use https://www.fda.gov/media/139970/download

About electroCore, Inc.
electroCore, Inc. is a commercial stage bioelectronic medicine company dedicated to improving patient outcomes through its platform non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy initially focused on the treatment of multiple conditions in neurology. The company’s current indications are the preventative treatment of cluster headache and migraine and acute treatment of migraine and episodic cluster headache.

For more information, visit www.electrocore.com.

Forward-Looking Statement
This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about electroCore's business prospects, sales and marketing, and product development plans, future cash flow projections, anticipated costs, its pipeline or potential markets for its technologies, the availability and impact of payer coverage, the potential product use for other indications, anticipated funding arrangements provided by the NHS, and other statements that are not historical in nature, particularly those that utilize terminology such as "anticipates," "will," "expects," "believes," "intends," other words of similar meaning, derivations of such words and the use of future dates. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the ability to raise the additional funding needed to continue to pursue electroCore’s business, sales and marketing, and product development plans, the inherent uncertainties associated with developing new products or technologies, the ability to successfully commercialize gammaCore™, competition in the industry in which electroCore operates and overall market conditions. Any forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and electroCore assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements, except as required by law.  Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factor disclosure set forth in the reports and other documents electroCore files with the SEC available at www.sec.gov.

Hans Vitzthum
LifeSci Advisors


Media Contact:
Jackie Dorsky

1 M.T. Wittbrodt et al. / Brain Stimulation 13 (2020) 1333-1348