What to know about migraine and COVID-19

Amid growing concerns about the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. and the greater global community, it’s important to both understand the risks and address specific considerations for people living with migraine. There are currently a lot of questions about how much people should be concerned about the virus, so we spoke with American Headache Society member Dr. Mia Minen, a headache specialist and epidemiologist, who shared seven COVID-19 considerations for people living with migraine, as well as some general practices.

Considerations for people living with migraine

While there hasn’t been any research on migraine and COVID-19 as of yet, Dr. Minen doesn’t expect people with migraine who are in good health otherwise to be at an elevated risk. The best practices for limiting infection still apply. The following migraine-specific tips may help those who experience migraine be better prepared and limit the potential for migraine attacks.

Have an adequate supply of your medicine

Dr. Minen recommends that people with migraine have a supply on hand of “both their acute and also any rescue medications or preventative medications they need.” Those who experience migraine should work with their doctors and their insurance companies to see if they can get an adequate supply of the medicine they need. “Some patients of mine have tried and there are issues just from the insurance companies,” she explains, so patients may need to contact their insurance companies directly to determine the best course of action.”

Consider alternatives for in-person doctor visits

Face-to-face doctor visits may not be necessary if patients are stable and no adjustments to their medication are needed. “In terms of seeking headache care at this point, if patients are stable and are on an adequate dosage of medication and they’re doing well, one option might be to write or call their doctor to see if it’s important to still maintain the appointment,” Dr. Minen says. Some institutions offer the option for telemedicine, which helps both patients and doctors maintain social distancing. She also cautions patients, “If anybody is sick or has been exposed to somebody, it would not be prudent to go see their headache specialist right now because there is a huge shortage of masks in this country.


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