An Internet‐based study on the impact of COVID‐19 pandemic‐related lockdown on migraine in India

Objectives

To assess the impact of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic on migraine patients in India on disease activity, healthcare accessibility, and quality of life (QoL).

Materials & Methods

This internet-based survey study using a structured questionnaire was conducted from 27th April to 31st July 2020. Previous physician-diagnosed migraine patients or those fulfilling any two of three clinical features (limitation of activities for >1 day, associated nausea or vomiting, and photophobia or phonophobia) were diagnosed as migraine patients. QoL was captured using a Likert scale and determinants of poor QoL were identified by logistic regression.

Results

A total of 4078 persons completed the full survey out of which 984 (24.1%) had migraine (mean age 35.3 ±11.2). Compared to pre-lockdown, 51.3% of migraineurs reported worsening of their headaches in terms of increased attack frequency (95.6%), increased headache days (95%), increased attack duration (89.9%) and increased headache severity (88.1%). The worsening was attributed to anxiety due to the pandemic (79.7%), inability or difficulty to access healthcare (48.4%) and migraine medicines (48.9%), and financial worries (60.9%). 26.8% of migraineurs reported poor QoL compared to 7.37% of non-migraineurs [p<0.0001]. Migraine affected QoL in 61.4% of migraineurs. The predictors of poor QoL on logistic regression included worsening migraine during the lockdown (AOR 4.150; CI 2.704- 6.369) and difficulty accessing migraine medicines (AOR 4.549; CI 3.041- 6.805). Employment as an essential COVID-19 worker (AOR 0.623; CI 0.409- 0.950) protected against poor QoL.

Conclusions

COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdown greatly impacted migraine patients in India which significantly reduced their QoL.

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