Jessica Ailani, MD| Neurology | MedStar Health

Jessica Ailani, MD
Provider is directly employed by MedStar Health

4.9 out of 5 (692 reviews)

Specialties: Neurology

Languages: English


About me

Jessica Ailani, MD, is board certified in neurology, with added certifications in neurology and headache. She sees patients at the McLean, Virginia, clinic.

Dr. Ailani is a clinical professor of neurology at MedStar's Georgetown University Hospital and director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center. The conditions she treats include migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, post-traumatic headaches, occipital neuralgia, headache related to neck strain and concussion-related headaches. She uses a wide variety of treatment options in headache management including Botox for chronic migraine.

Dr. Ailani is involved in numerous clinical trials focused on new treatments in the migraine space..

She is dedicated to educating the field on headache disorders.  She is a national and international speaker, invited to discuss migraine at headache and primary care meetings.  She has spoken at the American Headache Society, Diamond Headache meeting, International Headache Society, American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, and has presented abstracts at both national and internation meetings. 

Because people don't always want to take medications, Dr. Ailani is very willing to work with patients in finding lifestyle solutions. If patients want medications, she is willing to treat the headache aggressively. Dr. Ailani uses an integrative approach, with care designed around what the patient wants, encompassing all possibilities.

Dr. Ailani and her husband are from New York, and enjoy the warmer weather in the D.C. area. While others might not think of Washington as "the south," it certainly is for these former Long Islanders. They appreciate the museums as well as the cultural mix of people and restaurants in the Washington metro area. Dr. Ailani also enjoys the diversity of patients she sees daily, coming from rural areas, the city, as well as internationally.

Read details about Dr. Ailani's background and accomplishments.

Clinical areas of focus

  • Botox For Migraines
  • Cluster Headache
  • Facial Pain
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Neck Pain
  • Nerve Block
  • Neuralgia
  • Tension Headache
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Conditions and procedures

Conditions I treat

  • Cluster Headache
  • Facial Pain
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Neck Pain
  • Neuralgia
  • Tension Headache
Show All Show Less

Procedures I perform

  • Botox For Migraines
  • Headache Therapy
  • Nerve Block
  • Trigger Point Injection
Show All button Press enter to expand Show Less

Practice locations

Distance from Change LocationEnter your Location

1420 Beverly Road
Suite 300
McLean, VA, 22101


Fax 410-354-7942

Get Directions

miles away

Fax 410-354-7942


MedStar Health accepts most major health insurance plans. If you are uncertain as to whether your individual health insurance plan is accepted at MedStar Health, please call your insurance company.

  • List of insurance plans we accept
    • Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage Signature and Select (aka Senior Advantage)
    • Blue Choice Advantage & Healthy Blue (HMO, POS)
    • UnitedHealthcare and AARP Medicare Complete Plans/ UHC Group Medicare Advantage Plans HMO, POS, PPO
    • United Healthcare Options (PPO) (includes Empire PPO, GEHA, Compass Rose)
    • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Adv/Special Needs Plans
    • UHC Community Plan of MD
    • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS) (PPO)
    • Medicare Fee for Service
    • Kaiser Virginia Premier
    • Kaiser PermanenteSelect-Added Choice
    • Kaiser Permanente Signature-Added Choice
    • Kaiser Permanente Signature
    • Kaiser Permanente Select
    • Kaiser Permanente Medicare Plus (Medicare Supplemental Plan)
    • Kaiser Permanente Flexible Choice POS
    • Kaiser MD Medicaid MCO
    • CFBCBS Federal Employee Program (Std/Basic PPO/Blue Focus)
    • Innovation Health: Open Network Only Plus
    • Aetna HMO-Open Access/Select OA/HealthFund/Health Network Option OA
    • Network OA
    • Innovation Health: Open POS Plus
    • Aetna Managed Choice Open Access (POS)
    • POS OA & OA Plus
    • Aetna Innovations: HMO & EPO Plus
    • Innovation Health: POS
    • Choice Fund PPO
    • Innovation Health: POS Plus
    • Aetna Open Choice (PPO)
    • Aetna Elect Choice/ Open Access (POS)
    • CFBSBC Blue Preferred PPO
    • Open POS II
    • BlueChoice Open Access
    • Innovation Health: PPO
    • Open EPO Plus
    • United Healthcare Choice
    • CFBCBS Blue Choice Opt Out Open Access
    • Opoen HMO Option
    • Select HMO/HealthFund/Health Network
    • Innovation Health: Indemnity
    • Aetna Managed Choice (POS)
    • HealthyBlue PPO
    • PPO and PPO Plus
    • Open HMO
    • Aetna Traditional Choice (PPO)
    • CIGNA HMO Open Access (OA)
    • Aetna HMO
    • Choice POS & Choice POS II
    • Coventry of Delaware HMO/PPO
    • United Healthcare Select HMO - EPO/NPP
    • Coventry Health Care of Virginia
    • CIGNA HMO & Network (HMO)
    • CFBCBS (NCA) Indemnity
    • Optimum Choice Preferred (POS) & OCI Direct (HMO)
    • United Healthcare Select Plus (POS)
    • United Healthcare Choice Plus
    • CFBCBS Blue Choice Opt Out Plus Open Access (POS)
    • Aetna Student Health Insurance
    • MedStar Family Choice - Maryland Health Choice
    • First Health PPO
    • Great-West Healthcare POS/CIGNA
    • MedStar Select (MedStar Associates' Plan)
    • CIGNA POS/Network POS
    • M.D. IPA Preferred (POS)
    • Aetna Worker's Compensation Network
    • Coventry Health Care National Network PPO
    • CFBCBS Maryland Point of Service Plan (MPOS)
    • Aetna Elect Choice/ EPO (Aetna Health Fund) Innovation Health: Network Only Plus
    • Aetna Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO Plans
    • CFBCBS BlueChoice HMO
    • M.D. IPA (HMO)
    • CFBCBS Maryland Indemnity or PPO
    • Tricare Prime
    • CIGNA Indemnity
    • Tricare for Life (Medicare Supplemental Plan)
    • Aetna Quality Point of Service (POS)
    • Mamsi Life & Health (Indem./PPO)
    • United Student Resources



Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Neurology

Fellowship Program: Thomas Jefferson University (2009)

Residency Program: New York University Medical Center (2008)

Internship Program: Winthrop University Hospital - New York (2005)

Medical School: State University of NY at Stony Brook (2004)


  • American Headache Society Above and Beyond Award 2021

News and publications,_so_many_decisions_.2.aspx

i. Original Papers in Refereed Journals

  1. Lipton RB.  Reversion from chronic migraine to episodic migraine in patients treated with fremanezumab: Post hoc analysis from HALO CM study.  Headache 2020; doi: 10.1111/head.13997.  PMID:

  2. Hamilton KT, Singh Halker RB, Ailani J, Butterfield RJ, Robbins MS.  Migraine Treatment in Pregnancy: An American Headache Society Survey.  Headache 2020; doi:10.1111/head.13974.  PMID: 32990322

  3. Silberstein SD, Yuan H, Najib U, Ailani J, Lopes de Morais A, Mathew PG, Liebler E, Tassorelli C, Diener HC.  Non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation for primary headache: A clinical update.  Cephalalgia 2020; 333102420941864. doi: 10.1177/0333102420941864.  PMID: 32718243

  4. Szperka, CL, Ailani J, Barmherzig R, et al.  Migraine Care in the Era of COVID-19; Clinical Pearls and Plea to Insurers.  Headache 2020 May;60 (5):833-842. doi:10.1111/head.13810. PMID: 32227596

  5. Upadhyaya P, Nandyala A, Ailani J. Primary Exercise Headache. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2020;20(5):9. Published 2020 Apr 15. doi:10.1007/s11910-020-01028-4.  PMID: 32296942

  6. Dodick, D.W., Lipton, R.B., Ailani, J., Halker Singh, et al. Ubrogepant, an Acute Treatment for Migraine, Improved Patient‐Reported Functional Disability and Satisfaction in 2 Single‐Attack Phase 3 Randomized Trials, ACHIEVE I and II. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2020;60(4):686-700. doi:10.1111/head.13766.  PMID: 31800988

  7. Ailani J. Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Ubrogepant for the Acute Treatment of Migraine. J Fam Pract. 2020;69(1 Suppl):jfp_6901v.  PMID: 32053719

  8. Schwedt TJ, Digre K, Tepper SJ, Spare NM, Ailani J, et al. The American Registry for Migraine Research: Research Methods and Baseline Data for an Initial Patient Cohort. Headache. 2020;60(2):337–347. doi:10.1111/head.13688.  PMID: 31755111. 

  9. Ailani J, Lipton RB, Hutchinson S, et al. Long-Term Safety Evaluation of Ubrogepant for the Acute Treatment of Migraine: Phase 3, Randomized, 52-Week Extension Trial. Headache. 2020;60(1):141–152. doi:10.1111/head.13682.  PMID: 31913519

  10. Ailani J, Pearlman E, Zhang Q, Nagy AJ, Schuh K, Aurora SK. Positive response to galcanezumab following treatment failure to onabotulinumtoxinA in patients with migraine: post hoc analyses of three randomized double-blind studies. Eur J Neurol. 2020;27(3):542–549. doi:10.1111/ene.14102.  PMID: 32073660.

  11. Dodick DW, Ailani J. Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Ubrogepant for the Acute Treatment of Migraine. J Fam Pract. 2020;69(1 Suppl):S13–S22.  PMID: 32053715.

  12. Dodick DW, Lipton RB, Ailani J, et al. Ubrogepant for the Treatment of Migraine. N Engl J Med. 2019;381(23):2230–2241. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1813049.  PMID 31800988

  13. Burkett JG, Robbins MS, Robertson CE, Mete M, Saikali NP, Halker Singh RB, Ailani J.  Sphenopalatine ganglion block in primary headaches.  Neurol Clin Pract Dec 2019, 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000773; DOI: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000773

  14. Schwedt TJ , Digre K , Tepper SJ  Spare NM, Ailani J, et al.  The American Registry for Migraine Research: Research Methods and Baseline Data for an Initial Patient Cohort.  Headache 2019;102019;10.1111/head.13688.  PMID: 31755111

  15. Lipton RB, Dodick DW, Ailani J, et al.  Effect of Ubrogepant vs Placebo on Pain and the Most Bothersome Associated Symptom in the Acute Treatment of Migraine: The ACHIEVE II Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2019;322(19):1887–1898. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.16711.  PMID 31742631

  16. Detke HC, Millen BA, Zhang Q, Samaan K, Ailani J, et al. Rapid Onset of Effect of Galcanezumab for the Prevention of Episodic Migraine: Analysis of the EVOLVE Studies Headache. 2019;10.1111/head.13691. doi:10.1111/head.13691.  PMID 31710104

  17. Ailani J, Pearlman E, Zhang Q, Nagy AJ, Schuh K, Aurora SK. Positive response to galcanezumab following treatment failure to onabotulinumtoxinA in patients with migraine: post hoc analyses of three randomized double-blind studies Eur J Neurol. 2019;10.1111/ene.14102. doi:10.1111/ene.14102.  PMID 31595600

  18. Loo LS, Ailani J, Schim J, et al. Efficacy and safety of lasmiditan in patients using concomitant migraine preventive medications: findings from SAMURAI and SPARTAN, two randomized phase 3 trials. J Headache Pain. 2019;20(1):84. doi:10.1186/s10194-019-1032-x

  19. Lipton RB, Ailani J.  Discontinuation of Acute Prescription Medication for Migraine: Results From the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) Study.  The Journal of Head and Face Pain 2019.  doi: 10.1111/head.13642.  PMID 31544244

  20. Ailani J, Long-term Safety Evaluation of Ubrogepant for the Acute Treatment of Migraine: Phase 3, Randomized, 52-week Extension Trial.  Headache 2019 (In press).

  21. Loo LS, Ailani J, Schim J, Baygani S, Hundemer HP, Port M, Krege JH.  Efficacy and safety of lasmiditan in patients using concomitant migraine preventive medications: findings from SAMURAI and SPARTAN, two randomized phase 3 trials.  J Headache Pain. 2019 Jul 24;20(1):84. doi: 10.1186/s10194-019-1032-x.  PMID: 31340760

  22. Halker Singh RB, Ailani J, Robbins MS.  Neuromodulation for the Acute and Preventive Therapy of Migraine and Cluster Headache. Headache. 2019 Jul;59 Suppl 2:33-49. doi: 10.1111/head.13586. PMID:31291017

  23. Stauffer VL, Dodick DW, Zhang Q, Carter JN, Ailani J, Conley RR.  Evaluation of Galcanezumab for the prevention of Episodic Migraine: The EVOLVE-1 Randomized Clinical Trial.  JAMA Neurol. 2018 Sep 1;75(9):1080-1088. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.1212. PubMed PMID: 29813147; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6143119.

  24. Siavoshi S, Dougherty C, Ailani J, Yadwadkar K, Berkowitz F.  An Unusual Case of Post-Traumatic Headache Complicated by Intracranial Hypotension. Brain Sci. 2017 Jan; 7(1): 3.doi:10.3390/brainsci7010003 PubMed PMID: 28036062 PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5297292

  25. Lipton RB, Rosen NL, Ailani J, DeGryse RE, Gillard PJ, Varon SF. OnabotulinumtoxinA improves quality of life and reduces impact of chronic migraine over one year of treatment: Pooled results from the PREEMPT randomized clinical trial program. Cephalalgia. 2016 Aug;36(9):899-908. doi:10.1177/0333102416652092. PubMed PMID: 27288354; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4959035.

  26. Robbins MS, Robertson CE, Ailani J, et al.  Procedure Headache Medicine in Neurology Residency Training: A survey of US Program Directors.  Headache. 2016 Jan;56(1):79-85. doi: 10.1111/head.12695. PubMed PMID: 26352267. 

  27. Robbins MS, Roberston CE, Kaplan E, Ailani J, et al.  The Sphenopalantine Ganglion: Anatomy, Pathophysiology, and Therapeutic Targeting in Headache.  Headache. 2016 Feb;56(2):240-58. doi:10.1111/head.12729. PubMed PMID: 26615983.

  28. Nierenburg HC, Ailani J, Malloy M, et al. Systemic Review of Preventive and Acute Treatment of Menstrual Migraine. Headache. 2015 Sep;55(8):1052-71. doi: 10.1111/head.12640. PubMedPMID: 26264117.

  29. Blumenfeld A, Ashkenazi A, Napchan U, Bender SD, Klein BC, Berliner R, Ailani J, Schim J,             Friedman DI, Charleston L 4th, Young WB, Robertson CE, Dodick DW, Silberstein SD, Robbins MS.  Expert consensus recommendations for the performance of peripheral nerve blocks for headaches--a narrative review.  Headache. 2013;53(3):437-46. doi: 10.1111/head.12053. PubMed PMID: 23406160.      

ii. Reviews or Editorials in Refereed Journals

  1. Mathew S, Ailani JTraditional and Novel Migraine Therapy in the Aging Population.  Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2019 May 11;23(6):42. doi: 10.1007/s11916-019-0789-6.  PMID:


  1. Upadhyaya P, Ailani J.  A review of spontaneous intracranial hypotension.  Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep.  2019 Mar 19;19(5):22. doi: 10.1007/s11910-019-0938-7.

  2. Burkett JG, Ailani J.  A review of Pseudotumor Cerebri syndrome.  Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2018 May 2;18(6):33. doi: 10.1007/s11910-018-0839-1. PubMed PMID: 29721718.

  3. Slavin M, Ailani J.  A clinical approach to addressing diet with migraine patients.  Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep.  2017 Feb;17(2):17.  doi:10.1007/s11910-018-0839-1.  PubMed PMID:28229401.

  4. Ailani J. A Practical Approach to Autonomic Dysfunction in Patients with Headache. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2016 May;16(5):41. doi:10.1007/s11910-016-0641-x. PubMed PMID: 27021770. 

  5. Xanders, L, Ailani J.  Diagnose and Adios: Diagnose and Adios: Practical Tips for the Ongoing Evaluation and Care of TAC Patients Taking Indomethacin.  Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2015;19(2):470. doi: 10.1007/s11916-014-0470-z.. PubMed PMID: 25501954.

  6. Ailani J.  Migraine and Patent Foramen Ovale.  Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep.  2014;14(2)426-4.

doi. PubMed PMID:2440240.

  1. Ailani J.  Tension-type headache and women: do sex hormones influence tension-type headache?

Current Pain Headache Reports. 2010;14(6):436-40. doi:10.1007/s11916-010-0144-4. PubMed

PMID: 20872187.

       9. Ailani J.  Chronic Tension Type Headache.  Current Pain and Headache Reports. 

2009;13(6):479-83. doi. PubMed PMID:19889291.

       10. Ailani J., Young WB.  The Role of Nerve Blocks and Botulinum Toxin Injections in the

Management of Cluster Headaches.  Current Pain and Headache Reports.  2009;13:164-167. doi

PubMed PMID: 19272284.


iii. Books or Chapters in Books

  1. Robbins MS, Ailani J. Epidemiology, Progression, Prognosis, and Comorbidity of Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalgias. Headache (Neurology in Practice).  Chapter 15.  2013.

  2. Singh R, Ailani J.  Neuromodulation in the Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalagias.  Scientific American Neurology Headache Medicine.  Editor Christopher H. Gottschalk.  In publication process.

  3. Siovoshi S, Doughtery C, Ailani J. The Relationship between Chronic daily headache, Comorbidities and Other Pain Syndromes. Chronic Headache, edited by Green M, Cowan R, Freitag F.  Springer, Cham.  321-333, 2019.


vi. Other Publications

  1. Ailani J, Graber J, Fagan I, Hansom MR, Staudinger R.  Neurosarcoidosis in a patient with AIDS.  The Aids Reader.  2009; November 17.

  2. Ailani J.  Greater Occipital Nerve Blocks and Cluster Headache.  The Pain Practioner.  2009;19:66-68.

  3. Ailani J. Tips for Migraine Control.  Neurology Reviews.  2009.

  4. Ailani J.  Onabutulinum toxin A and Chronic Migraine; A review of common side effects.  Headache Newsletter of the AHS Committee for Headache Education.  2012 (4): 6-7.

  5. Charleston L, Halker R, Ailani J.  Sphenopalantine Ganglion Blocks in Headache Disorders.  American Migraine Foundation 2015.

  6. Halker R, Ailani J, Dougherty C, Slavin M.  Migraine and Diet.  American Migraine Foundation 2015.

  7. Rao PM, Ailani J.  Diagnosis and treatment of migraine.  Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management.  2017;24 (11).

  8. Ailani J.  Neuromodulation Devices in Migraine: The Latest.  Medscape 2019.

  9. Onorato K, Dougherty C, Ailani J.  Migraine During Pregnancy.  Practical Neurology May 2019.

  10. Ailani J.  Medication Overuse Headache.  Practical Neurolgy May 2020.

  11. Ailani J.  Managing migraine in women.  Neurology Live 2019;2:24-25.

Ratings and reviews

  • Explanations the care provider gave you about your problem or condition

  • Extent to which the care provider listened to you

  • Care provider's discussion of any proposed treatment (options, risks, benefits, etc.)

  • Care provider's efforts to include you in decisions about your care

  • Concern the care provider showed for your questions or worries

  • Likelihood of recommending this care provider to others

  • Feb 6, 2024

    Dr. Ailani is terrific.

  • Jan 31, 2024

    Dr. Ailani is my favorite doctor of all my doctors and I recommend her to anyone I know who experiences headaches.

  • Jan 31, 2024

    I adore Dr. Ailani. She is a terrific physician.