How COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis?


How COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis?

The global COVID-19 pandemic was announced in March of 2020 by World Health Organization, with a higher mortality rate among elders and people having chronic medical conditions, it has affected the treatment protocols for many diseases, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is no different. To study the effects of a pandemic on clinical practice patterns in MS, in the U.S., Dr. Elizabeth Morrison of the University of California surveyed multiple sclerosis specialist neurologists, some of whom were highly trained MS specialists in the US, though of as leaders for other clinicians.

She found that majority of MS specialists abstain from prescribing excessive immunosuppressants during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected the way specialists are prescribing disease-modify drugs to the patients, most of the respondents reported.This could translate into, patients experiencing more disease activity of multiple sclerosis. The researcher believed that ample information about the outcomes is lacking and the decline in the use of immunosuppressants was because the clinicians were concerned that immunosuppression could trigger severe complications from COVID-19.

Almost 10% of the respondents were redeployed to the front lines of COVID-19, pointing towards the fact that the pandemic has challenged the capacity of the multiple sclerosis health care workforce. Less than half of the respondents stated that they had sufficient ability to distance themselves at work, physically. Most of them had ample personal protective equipment at work.

Dr. Morrison pointed towards the major finding of the survey which was the profound change in clinical practice of multiple sclerosis since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. She further added, “for better or for worse, when clinical practice patterns changes, we should not be surprised to see corresponding changes in patient outcomes.”

The prime objective of this national survey was to find how clinicians were dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, therefore the survey’s data was disseminated as soon as possible with the hope that the results could be useful for not only clinicians but also patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. The patients need to receive constant support from the clinicians to receive the best of health care possible. Another salient finding of the survey was that majority of the MS specialists were offering telehealth services of some type to help their patients feel saver by continuity of the care.

For future work, the researchers have planned to study more about the change of clinical practice patterns in multiple sclerosis, as more data will be made available in the future months, as more studies are being conducted to explore how certain disease-modifying therapies of multiple sclerosis are affecting outcomes from COVID-19.


Multiple sclerosis, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, pandemic, disease modifying therapy, immunosuppression, telemedicine, telehealth.