The nature of COVID-19 pandemic measures has altered the clinical management of migraine, and has also created barriers to evaluate the impact of such measures of migraine patients. Using the Migraine Buddy smartphone application, we assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migraine in users residing in the United States.
Migraine Buddy is a smartphone application by individuals to record their migraine headache episodes, characteristics, and coping mechanisms. For this study, anonymized self-reported data from 163,176 adult Migraine Buddy users in the United States between January 2020 and May 2020, were analyzed for migraines associated with stress. A stress-related migraine is defined as one in which stress or anxiety was reported as a trigger or symptom. A questionnaire on the impact of COVID-19 on migraine and its management was also completed by 923 users from the United States in the app between April 2020 and May 2020.
88% of the Migraine Buddy database extract and 84% of the respondents are female, with a mean age of 36.2 years. The proportion of stress-related migraine attacks peaked at 53% on March 21 to 23, although the number of migraine attacks decreased. This followed the declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency on March 13 and a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States. Questionnaire respondents felt that the following added more stress: social isolation (22.6%), information overdose (21.2%), access to essentials (food, medication, etc.) (18.7%), and financial concerns (17.8%). To help manage migraine during COVID-19, respondents suggested stress and diet coaching programs and resources (medical articles, etc.) (34.0%), having the option for home delivery of medication (30.6%) and tele-consulting (25.5%).
Here, we report the change in the proportion of self-reported stress-related migraine in relation to evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its impact of migraine management. Our data will help increase the understanding of patients’ needs and help with planning and execution of mitigating strategies.

© 2021. The Author(s).