AMF and AHS leaders address migraine community, answer their questions about COVID-19

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that the community is here to support one another and provide accurate information to navigate these unprecedented times. On Wednesday, March 23, 2020, the American Migraine Foundation collaborated with the American Headache Society to film a webinar featuring AMF Chair Dr. David Dodick, AHS President Dr. Kathleen Digre and AMF Executive Director Nim Lalvani who gathered to address the patient community and answer questions about migraine and COVID-19.

During the discussion, Dr. Dodick provided an overview of COVID-19, how it is transmitted and the importance of flattening the curve. Dr. Digre focused on addressing the migraine community’s risk compared to the general population.

“Every patient has a risk to get COVID-19 but people with migraine are not at greater risk,” she said.

She did note, however, that COVID-19 could impact people living with migraine by limiting their access to migraine care, as the healthcare system is under strain and resources like urgent care centers become riskier. Dr. Dodick and Dr. Digre also discussed the implementation of telemedicine to help patients access the care they need.

“It’s incredible to me how quickly institutions and practices are developing the technological capacity to provide these virtual visits, but it’s also surprising to me how savvy patients actually are,” said Dr. Dodick. “They’re bringing themselves up to speed very quickly because of the need.”

Nim Lalvani asked both participants to share tips for patients using telemedicine for the first time. Dr. Digre recommended patients come prepared by writing their questions down ahead of the appointment. They should also have notes about the medications they take and their doses. Dr. Dodick shared the 3 F’s that he asks patients to remember for appointments:

  • Frequency – how many headache days the patient is experiencing in a given month.
  • Functional impairment — on how many of those headache days impairs the patient’s functioning.
  • Frequency – how frequently patients are taking acute medicines and how they’re working.

Other topics discussed during the webinar include keeping a 90-day medicine supply, using rescue medications at home to avoid going to urgent care centers or emergency rooms and dealing with stress during this time. The doctors also answered questions submitted by our community. They covered topics ranging from migraine treatment’s effect on the immune system and the definition of a medically necessary procedure.

In the coming weeks, the American Migraine Foundation will be hosting a weekly Facebook Live event as part of a series dedicated to wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Migraine Foundation and the American Headache Society are here to support the patient community. We will continue to develop resources and empower you with accurate, credible, and timely resources.