Dr Peter McAllister on How COVID-19 Has Impacted Migraine Prevention Efforts

October 22, 2020

Increased time spent in front of computer screens, less time spent sleeping, and less access to gyms have led my patients to have a lot more migraines, said Peter McAllister, MD, a neurologist, board certified headache specialist, and medical director of the New England Institute for Neurology and Headache.

Increased time spent in front of computer screens, less time spent sleeping, and less access to gyms have led my patients to have a lot more migraines, said Peter McAllister, MD, a neurologist, board certified headache specialist, and medical director of the New England Institute for Neurology and Headache.

Transcript:

The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®): How has the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic impacted migraine prevention efforts?

Dr. McAllister: First of all, in the height of it, and that depends on where you are in the country or the world, but in the metro New York area where I am, in the height of it, many offices closed down. They literally shut their doors. Those who were receiving treatments for which they had to go to the doctor, such as quarterly injections of Botox, for example, Botox is FDA approved for chronic migraine, they couldn't get them. Those who were getting nerve blocks of numbing medicine for their migraines, those who were getting intravenous medicines, that was no longer available to them. That was a big problem.


You couple that with what happened to our migraine patients during the pandemic and what is still going on to some extent. We're all in front of the Zoom camera and the computer screen way too often. We're not sleeping as much. We are generally increasing our caloric intake, so we're putting on weight which is not good for migraine. One of my patients referred to it as the COVID 19. If you were a drinker beforehand, you drank a lot more during COVID-19 generally, I mean, alcohol sales have been through the roof. Just the financial stress and not knowing what's going to come next etc., coupled with inability to go to the gym, made a lot of my patients have a lot more migraines, and those who were having to come in to the office couldn't do it for a while. I think many of us around the country switched patients to more home therapies. For example, the new CGRP shots, the monthly injections that have been approved since 2018. We switched a lot of our patients who came into the office for procedures over to those because they could do it at home.