The impact of the COVID‐19 pandemic on patients with migraine


To evaluate the impact of the Coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic on patients with migraine a study was designed and recently published: Haghdoost, F., Carcel, C., Chandrasekhar, D. et al. The impact of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic on migraine disorder. J Neurol (2021).

Self-reported data from a migraine tracking smartphone application, Migraine Buddy, were used. Data were collected from users who reported at least one attack in the Jan, Feb, Mar and Apr of 2018, 2019 and 2020. In addition, a survey was conducted to evaluate the impact of COVID‐19 on migraine management.

On average, data from 124,717 users per month (mean age 36.3 ± 10.9 years and 89% female) were collected. Overall, the mean frequency of migraine headache was higher in 2020 than in 2019 and higher in 2019 than in 2018. The four commonest headache triggers in 2018, 2019 and 2020 were stress in 39.7, 38.4 and 36.1%, lack of sleep in 25, 25 and 22.8%, neck pain, 20, 20.4 and 19.3 and anxiety in 19, 18.4 and 18.4% of participants, respectively. 1689 users participated in the survey and they reported that they preferred face-to-face (54.29%) to telehealth (11.9%) consultations.

An increase in migraine frequency from 2018 to 2020 was reported by the users of the mobile phone. This could reflect a real increase or change in reporting habits. Stress, lack of sleep, neck pain and anxiety were the commonest attack triggers. The frequency of these triggers decreased slightly in 2020 compared to 2019 and 2018. An increase in telehealth consultations with specialists was reported in the survey but migraine patients preferred face-to-face consultations.