The COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on the psychological health of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), according to a study published online July 21 in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
Aleksandar Stojanov, M.D., from Clinical Center Nis in Serbia, and colleagues surveyed 95 patients with RRMS to assess psychological status before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The researchers found that the main concerns among patients were that someone they know could be infected with COVID-19 (78.5 percent) or could die from the infection (33.8 percent), as well as the lack of specific treatment options (25.8 percent). Regarding RRMS status, the main concerns were that their disease would be worse if they contract COVID-19 (36.4 percent), that they might experience some difficulties in drug availability (43.6 percent), and that they could not go to the hospital as usual (72.4 percent). Compared with healthy controls, results on all questionnaires were worse for RRMS patients. Additionally, for the Hamilton scales for the assessment of anxiety, there was a statistically significant difference between the prepandemic results and the results from April 2020.
“Health care organizations need to provide professional therapeutic advice and psychosocial support for this population of patients during the pandemic,” the authors write.