During the coronavirus disease (COVID) -19 pandemic, multiple sclerosis (MS) patients were concerned about the viral infection; In addition, low adherence to aspects of MS care was common, according to study results published in Multiple Sclerosis and Allied Disorders.
While patients with MS are at low risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection, concern and fear of infection can affect care adherence by avoiding medical facilities and medical staff during the pandemic.
The aim of the current study was to use a survey emailed to patients from a major MS center in New York City to assess the level of concern among MS patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and compliance with it Determine care.
Of 3,153 survey invitation emails, 596 patients (78.9% women) responded to the survey within two weeks in April 2020, including 472 patients with MS, 13 patients with neuromyelitis optica, 7 patients with clinically isolated syndrome and 30 patients with other diagnoses. At the time of the survey, only 35 patients (6.7%) had tested for COVID-19, of whom 14 (40%) tested positive.
Patients with MS had high levels of concern about COVID-19 infection during the local height of the pandemic, with most patients reporting “I am or was concerned” (54.1%) or (34, 0%) strongly agree about the infection with COVID-19 ”. Similarly, most patients were concerned that MS increased their risk of COVID-19 infection (38.6% fully agreed; 31.3% agreed) and were concerned about disease-modifying therapies that increased the risk of COVID -19 infection increase (36.5% fully agreed; 31.0% agreed).
Patients have postponed appointments frequently (41%), a decision usually made by the patient (27.9%) and rarely by the provider (12.9%). In addition, patients have postponed laboratory exams (46%) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (41%) studies. However, treatment with disease-modifying therapies was rarely postponed (12.5%).
Levels of concern about COVID-19 infection were associated with postponing appointments (P = 0.020) and laboratory studies (P = 0.016), but not with adherence to MRIs and disease-modifying therapies.
The study had several limitations, including the use of data from a single center, the potential impact of timing on the pandemic, potential selection and recall bias, and a low response rate to the survey.
“The study results show high levels of concern about COVID-19 infection in MS patients during the local peak of the pandemic. Deviations from the recommended routines for MS care occurred due to frequent postponements of appointments, laboratory studies, and MRIs. Nonetheless, non-compliance with DMTs was rare, ”concluded the study’s researchers.
Disclosure: Several authors of the study have stated that they are part of the pharmaceutical industry. For a full list of the authors’ information, see the original reference.
Zhang Y., Staker E., Cutter G., Krieger S., Miller AE. Risk Perception and Care Compliance in MS Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-sectional Study. Mult Scler Relat Disord. Published online February 22, 2021. doi: 10.1016 / j.msard.2021.102856