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Acta Neurol Scand ; 142(6): 545-554, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-717275


OBJECTIVES: Collateral damage may occur in epilepsy management during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We aimed to establish the impact of this pandemic on epilepsy patients in terms of patient-reported seizure control and emerging symptoms. MATERIALS & METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study including consecutive patients assessed by telephone contact in an epilepsy clinic during the first month of confinement. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded, and a 19-item questionnaire was systematically completed. Data regarding the impact of confinement, economic effects of the pandemic, and subjective perception of telemedicine were recorded. Additional clinical data were obtained in patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis. RESULTS: Two hundred and fifty-five patients were recruited: mean age 48.2 ± 19.8 years, 121 (47.5%) women. An increase in seizure frequency was reported by 25 (9.8%) patients. Sixty-eight (26.7%) patients reported confinement-related anxiety, 22 (8.6%) depression, 31 (12.2%) both, and 72 (28.2%) insomnia. Seventy-three (28.6%) patients reported a reduction in economic income. Logistic regression analysis showed that tumor-related epilepsy etiology [OR = 7.36 (95% CI 2.17-24.96)], drug-resistant epilepsy [OR = 3.44 (95% CI 1.19-9.95)], insomnia [OR = 3.25 (95% CI 1.18-8.96)], fear of epilepsy [OR = 3.26 (95% CI 1.09-9.74)], and income reduction [OR = 3.65 (95% CI 1.21-10.95)] were associated with a higher risk of increased seizure frequency. Telemedicine was considered satisfactory by 214 (83.9%) patients. Five patients were diagnosed with COVID-19, with no changes in seizure frequency. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has effects in epilepsy patients. Patients with tumor-related, drug-resistant epilepsy, insomnia, and economic difficulties are at a higher risk of increased seizure frequency. Telemedicine represents a suitable tool in this setting.

COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Symptom Flare Up , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/psychology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Epilepsy/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult