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Clin Neurol Neurosurg ; 203: 106592, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1116476


OBJECTIVE: following the COVID-19 pandemic, a quarantine was imposed to all of regions Italy by 9th March until 3rd May 2020. We investigated the effect of COVID-19 infection and quarantine on seizure frequency in adult people with epilepsy (PwE) of Apulia and Basilicata regions, Southern Italy. METHODS: This is an observational, retrospective study based on prospective data collection of 102 successive PWE. The frequency of seizures was evaluated during pre-quarantine (January- February), quarantine (March-April), and post-quarantine period (May-June), while PwE were divided into A) cases responding to treatment with ≤ 1 seizure per year; B) cases responding to treatment with 2-5 seizure per year; C) cases with drug-resistant epilepsy with ≤ 4 seizures per month; D) cases with drug-resistant epilepsy with 5-10 seizures per month. PwE underwent several self-report questionnaires regarding therapeutic compliance, mood, stress and sleep during quarantine period. RESULTS: Approximately 50 % of PwE showed seizure frequency changes (22.55 % an increase and 27.45 % a reduction) during quarantine. Seizure frequency significantly (p < 0.05) increased in PwE responding to treatment with ≤ 1 seizure per year, while significantly (p < 0.05) reduced in PwE with drug-resistant epilepsy with 5-10 seizures per month. The data was not influenced by therapeutic adherence, sleep and depression. The analysis of anxiety showed a moderate level of anxiety in PwE responding to treatment with < 1 seizure per year, while moderate stress was perceived by all PwE. Seizure frequency changes were related to quarantine, but not to COVID-19 infection. In fact, unlike other regions of Italy, particularly Northern Italy, Apulia and Basilicata regions were less affected by COVID-19 infection, and almost all PwE recognized the quarantine as a stressful event. Emotional distress and anxiety due to social isolation, but also the relative reduction of triggers for epileptic seizures were the most important factors for changes in seizure frequency. CONCLUSIONS: Our study adds to the growing concern that the indirect effects of COVID-19 pandemic will far outstrip the direct consequences of the infection.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Epilepsy/complications , Quarantine/psychology , Seizures/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Affect , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Physical Distancing , Psychological Distress , Retrospective Studies , Self Report , Sleep , Young Adult