Cove Review: Will This Migraine Treatment Really Help?
A migraine is described as a headache of varying intensity that typically lasts 4 to 72 hours, and different migraine sufferers are challenged with a wide range of symptoms that can make day-to-day living painful at best.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head, and it's typically accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. And for some sufferers, migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days – and can sometimes be so severe that the pain is debilitating.
Enter Cove, a company that’s “on a mission to make migraines less of a headache.” This article takes a look at Cove, which involves migraine experts that provide personalized treatment and ongoing care to help migraine sufferers take control.
It’s important to keep in mind that this information is not intended as medical advice. Before you decide to give Cove a try, talk to your medical professional, first.
What Is Cove?
Launched in December of 2018, Cove offers affordable FDA-approved migraine treatments – both acute pain relief and preventative – as well as ongoing support and education to help migraine sufferers get the personalized care that they need, according to Steven Gutentag, co-founder and CEO.
“Cove empowers migraine sufferers by providing them direct access to high-quality, affordable migraine care, personalized to each person and their specific needs,” he said. “That includes migraine expertise from leading doctors in the field, ongoing support and on-demand care, centralized migraine management, customer education, and affordability.”
Safety and Effectiveness of Cove
If you’re wondering if Cove is safe, Gutentag said “we hold ourselves to the highest standards.”
“We only offer FDA-approved treatments, and they’re always prescribed by our knowledgeable physicians who thoroughly review your consultation to ensure you’re getting the right plan for your needs,” he noted.
As far as overall effectiveness is concerned, “we have worked closely with headache experts and healthcare lawyers to create an experience that is safe, legal, and seamless for our users,” Gutentag said.
How Does Cove Work?
You begin by submitting a full online diagnostic consultation.
This rigorous consult is designed to evaluate the types of things a headache specialist would ask and look for during an in-person consultation, including migraine history and treatment history, medical history, lifestyle, and even a neurological baseline test, Gutentag explained.
“You are then paired with a licensed physician who, within 24 hours, will review your consultation and make a personalized diagnosis and treatment plan recommendation with specific FDA-approved medications – acute and/or preventative treatments,” he said. “We then ask you to review their treatment plan recommendation and work with your doctor to make any adjustments if necessary.”
From there, treatments are shipped out monthly, so you’re never without the medications you need.
“We also encourage you to have an active online dialogue with your doctor and to take advantage of our migraine tracking tool, which allows you to report migraine incidents, triggers, and treatments in real-time,” Gutentag advised. “This information is sent directly to your doctor and added to your record, allowing you to follow up with check-ins or to adjust treatment plans if necessary.”
Depending on a customer’s personalized treatment plan, Cove offers both immediate pain relief (acute) and preventative medications, which can be prescribed individually or together. The following information, provided by Cove, explains what these medications are and how they work:
Acute medications will include:
Naproxen (NSAIDs): NSAIDs are commonly-used pain relievers that help ease migraines as soon as they start. These anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain and support healthy blood flow.
Sumatriptan or Rizatriptan (Triptans): Triptans increase serotonin levels in your brain, reduce inflammation, and constrict blood vessels to provide immediate relief during a migraine attack.
Metoclopramide (Anti-nausea): Anti-nausea drugs reduce nausea and vomiting that can accompany severe migraines. They are usually taken along with a pain reliever, as they do not reduce migraine pain on their own.
Preventative medications will include:
Propranolol + Metoprolol (Beta Blockers): Beta blockers decrease the effects of stress hormones on your heart and blood vessels, helping reduce both frequency and intensity of migraines. While typically prescribed for high blood pressure, research shows they’re also effective for migraines.
Amitriptyline (Antidepressant): During a migraine, serotonin levels plummet. Antidepressants help prevent migraines from happening as frequently by maintaining a healthy serotonin level.
Topiramate (Anticonvulsant): Anticonvulsants help alleviate migraine symptoms by calming overactive nerves in your brain. While typically used to prevent seizures caused by epilepsy and other conditions, they’ve also been proven effective for treating migraines.
Ideal Candidates for Cove
Cove is for men and women over the age of 18 who experience migraines.
“Migraines are a serious and highly personalized chronic health condition,” Gutentag emphasized. “That’s why Cove pairs each person directly with a licensed doctor who reviews their information in order to identify and prescribe the best treatment plan for their specific needs.”
He further noted that not all head pain is a migraine and that's why it’s important to discuss your symptoms with a licensed doctor to make sure you're getting the right diagnosis.
“If there are any concerns, they'll recommend next steps,” Gutentag said. “And, while they’re generally well tolerated, the acute and preventative drugs we prescribe and sell do have occasional side effects. Feeling off? Concerned? We always recommend you speak to your doctor immediately.”
How Does Cove Compare to the Competition?
Migraines impact 1 in 7 people worldwide, making it the third most common disease globally.
“Despite this, it’s still surprisingly difficult for migraine sufferers to get the personalized treatment and support they deserve,” Gutentag said. “In fact, less than 50% of migraine sufferers ever see a clinician for help.”
Cove stands apart as the first end-to-end platform focused on bringing all components of healthcare together to give both migraine sufferers and doctors a holistic view of and control over migraine care, he emphasized.
“In combining diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing access to care in a single place, Cove is able to expand access to high-quality care, reduce the costs of that care, and create a stronger feedback loop between patients and their doctors to help them find the right treatment for them,” Gutentag said.
The Cost of Cove and Where to Buy
Pricing ranges from $25 to $65 per month – depending on the treatment plan and the medications in it – with most customers likely falling in the $25 to $45 range.
Customers can go through a consultation and purchase a prescription through Cove’s website.
All purchases of Cove treatments are final. According to the company, this is because their products are medications, so once they are packaged for a customer, their pharmacy legally cannot use the products for another patient.
“Our pharmacy's regulations prohibit the return of prescription medications for reimbursement,” according to the company. “This means that we are unable to accept returns of treatment for refunds, even if it is unused.”
Regarding exchanges, Cove will replace items if they are damaged or defective.
As far as using insurance to pay for Cove is concerned, “we are an entirely self-pay service and insurance is not accepted for the medical consultations or the products,” the company states on its website. “Our prices are typically much less than the cost of what you’d pay at your local pharmacy, and Cove provides both medical and customer care services. We recommend that you ask your benefits provider if you have any additional questions.”
Cove’s Educational Resources
Those who log into the Cove website will also find a wealth of educational information under the “Learn” tab, which can help customers along the way.
Topics addressed include everything you need to know about triptans, NSAIDs, anticonvulsants, beta blockers and antidepressants for migraine treatment, as well as migraine symptoms, the different types of migraines, and the difference between a migraine and other headaches. There’s also a section about what to do when your migraine treatment’s not working.
Exciting Innovation in Healthcare
According to Dr. Emil Avanes of Adventist Health Glendale, Cove seems to be one of the new medical phenomenon that he’s seeing everywhere: “targeted evaluation and management solutions to common medical problems.”
While Dr. Avanes is not associated with Cove, he looked into it for the purpose of providing his expertise for this article.
“I'm not sure what the treatments rendered by Cove are, but my guess is that patients can use their app to indicate they have symptoms, and then receive immediate relief via reminder on control protocols – plus strong migraine medications to pharmacy,” Dr. Avanes said.
He noted at his practice, Harmony Health MD, “we treat migraines with IV Infusions within minutes of arrival.”
This helps his patients avoid urgent cares and emergency departments, where they have to wait longer and may burden the healthcare system with something that can easily be treated in the outpatient setting.
“We further educate patients about the importance of avoiding triggers,” Dr. Avanes said.
“Finally, we get everyone started on preventive measures, which include certain vitamin combinations,” he said. “Perhaps Cove has implemented some variant to these treatments? I'm not sure where the interest for this particular outlet draws from, but it's likely related to all the exciting innovation that’s happening across healthcare in general these days.”
Cove seems like a valid option when it comes to helping people with migraines – especially because of the app, which enables users to track their progress, as well as direct access to doctors through the secure online patient portal.
When you think about how much time and money it takes to visit a doctor’s office – or the time consideration if you have follow-up questions for your doctor – Cove offers a more simple streamlined process in which doctors are available anytime you need.
As far as the products are concerned, they are backed by scientific research and FDA-approved, which is always a positive sign. It’s also great that the products are matched to your exact condition, which can potentially lead to great results.
But with any lifestyle change for the better, it’s important to remember to have patience as this process can take time.
As Gutentag stated: “Cove consumers should keep in mind that progress is a process.”
“Patience and commitment are key to finding migraine relief, and it often takes a little bit of experimentation to find the right plan for each person,” he said. “Working closely with your doctor and using our migraine tracking tool ensures an active dialogue and real-time feedback loop with your caregiver to ensure you’re getting the support and treatment you need.”