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CVS shifts strategy, supports new app that alleviates travel headaches

CVS is supporting the release of a new mobile application and accompanying device that aims to relieve migraines sustained while traveling by warning consumers when they are likely to occur.

The app is called MigraineX and it comes with associated earplugs on sale at CVS. The move is an attempt on CVS and Cirrus', the makers of the app, part to use mobile to offer services outside of its traditional wheelhouse.

"We are thrilled to have MigraineX available in CVS," says Drew O'Connell, CEO of Cirrus Healthcare. "What separates MigraineX from other migraine relief medications is using medication-only focuses on relieving symptoms after a headache starts. 

While traveling to a new destination is fun once you have arrived, getting there can be a miserable experience for many travelers.

Overwhelmingly, one of the biggest causes of distress on flights is chronic migraines.

Many migraines sustained on an airplane are caused by changes in barometric pressure. These changes, if caught in time, can signal to customers that a migraine may be incoming so they can take appropriate steps.

But since most people cannot sense subtle changes in air pressure, they are left to alleviate migraine symptoms after they have already arrived.

CVS is looking to alleviate that concern by supporting a new mobile app called MigraineX.

The way MigraineX works is by sensing changes in barometric pressure and alerting users when those changes occur. That signals that it is time to put in the accompanying earplugs that are specially designed to resist changes in pressure.

The plugs will be sold at CVS stores nationwide.

With these plugs in place, according to a study by Princeton Consumer Research, migraines are reduced at a rate by up to 81 percent.

CVS still recommends taking regular migraine medication along with it.

The app is mainly used to offer alerts to users about changes and when to begin using the earplugs.

The app can be set to alert for changes for a period of 24 hours at a time.

Mobile offerings
This new mobile offering from Cirrus, with support from CVS, represents a significant shift from how the brand normally makes use of mobile ? and indeed, how many brands make use of mobile.

For most brands, mobile is about maximizing sales or making the in-store retail process sooner, but with this new app, CVS is offering a mobile application that exists only as a service on its own.

Compare the introduction of MigraineX to some of CVS? other mobile offerings in recent months.

The brand has been issuing challenges to companies as diverse as Apple with its own mobile payment service (see story) and Walgreens with curb-side mobile pickup (see story).

But MigraineX is a mobile offering that does not seek to tie in with any other aspect of CVS? retail process. 

Instead, MigraineX is just a mobile service provided by Cirrus and CVS.

This is an interesting strategy, and one to watch to see if any other brands follow suit.

"The best defense against migraines is to prevent the pressure before it starts," Mr. O'Connell said. "Our longtime customers who use EarPlanes know to use our products before take offs and landings. 

"We are confident new customers will find MigraineX to be a great reliever from weather-related migraines."