Addressing migraine concerns


    Stress and anxiety induced by the COVID-19 pandemic are impacting migraine sufferers around the world. Migraine is a type of headache disorder that involves recurrent attacks of moderate to severe head pain that is typically throbbing, often on one side of the head and associated with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.

    “The limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted patients globally, including migraine sufferers. To cope with these limitations, we encourage migraine patients who are stable and do not require acute emergency care to utilize telemedicine tools so that they can stay connected with their doctors,” said Dr. Rosalina Espiritu-Picar, President of the Philippine Neurological Association (PNA).

    The PNA has drafted telemedicine guidelines that all of its members follow to ensure the safety and privacy of both patients and doctors. To find a neurologist anywhere in the country and for a list of neurologists accepting telemedicine consultations, patients are encouraged to visit the official PNA website at or the trunkline of the hospital nearest them to ask for a neurologist

    “Whenever I had to host shows and events, there were bright lights and loud sounds, which are all migraine triggers. I have to take a strong medicine and take a nap backstage before showtime, so I could ease my migraine headache and be able to perform my role as host,” says TV host and model Ms. Bianca Gonzalez who was diagnosed with migraine when she was a child. Her father is also a migraine sufferer.

    Bianca is grateful to her husband for supporting her whenever she has migraine attacks.

    She also thanks other migraine sufferers who express their support whenever she posts on social media. “It’s a huge help knowing that I am not alone in coping with this debilitating disease.”

    In line with its commitment to reimagine migraine care, Novartis has developed erenumab.

    In the Philippines, erenumab is approved for the prevention of migraine in adults.

    “Erenumab specifically targets the calcitonin gene-related peptide or CGRP receptor, which plays a key role in the pathophysiology of migraine. It has been shown to safely and effectively reduce migraine frequency, allowing patients to have more migraine-free days.

    This innovative anti-migraine medicine is self-administered once monthly via a pre-filled syringe. It does not require a loading dose and is easy to use. said Dr. Giovell Barangan, Chief Scientific Officer, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.

    A social media analysis done by Novartis found that the stress and anxiety induced by the COVID-19 pandemic have triggered migraine attacks in patients all over the world.

    The main stressor among migraine sufferers was the overlap of migraine and COVID-19 symptoms such as headache, nausea and vomiting. Due to these overlapping symptoms, migraine sufferers feared they had COVID-19, which triggered migraine attacks. Limited access to clinic visits and migraine medications due to the coronavirus lockdown and fear of infection increased the risk of patients’ migraine to worsen, which further induced stress and anxiety.