Background: Stress is a potential trigger for clinical and radiological activity in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). COVID-19 pandemic has been a relevant source of mental distress in people with MS (pwMS) and deeply impacted on disease management. Objective: To investigate the association between stress, anxiety, depression, and risk of relapse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: From an electronic database used for clinical practice, we extracted data of relapsing–remitting (RR) or relapsing-progressive (RP) MS patients and calculated the annualized relapse rate (ARR) during 2019 and 2020. From 01/12/2020 to 30/12/2020, enrolled patients were invited to fill in a Google Forms survey to investigate depression, anxiety, stress, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Results: We selected 216 patients with RR or RP-MS to calculate ARR: compared to 2019, in 2020 there was a significant increase in ARR (p = 0.0142). Over 216 selected pwMS, 154 completed the survey. Matching the survey responses and incidence of relapses in 2020, there was a significant association between relapses and stress (p = 0.030) and relapses and depression (p = 0.011), but not between relapses and anxiety (p = 0.130) or PTSD (p = 0.279). Conclusions: Our results support the hypothesis that pandemic-related stress is associated to clinical exacerbations, both as a possible consequence of the COVID-19 impact on MS care.

Association between relapses, stress, and depression in people with multiple sclerosis during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sparaco M.;Miele G.;Abbadessa G.;Bonavita S.
2022

Abstract

Background: Stress is a potential trigger for clinical and radiological activity in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). COVID-19 pandemic has been a relevant source of mental distress in people with MS (pwMS) and deeply impacted on disease management. Objective: To investigate the association between stress, anxiety, depression, and risk of relapse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: From an electronic database used for clinical practice, we extracted data of relapsing–remitting (RR) or relapsing-progressive (RP) MS patients and calculated the annualized relapse rate (ARR) during 2019 and 2020. From 01/12/2020 to 30/12/2020, enrolled patients were invited to fill in a Google Forms survey to investigate depression, anxiety, stress, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Results: We selected 216 patients with RR or RP-MS to calculate ARR: compared to 2019, in 2020 there was a significant increase in ARR (p = 0.0142). Over 216 selected pwMS, 154 completed the survey. Matching the survey responses and incidence of relapses in 2020, there was a significant association between relapses and stress (p = 0.030) and relapses and depression (p = 0.011), but not between relapses and anxiety (p = 0.130) or PTSD (p = 0.279). Conclusions: Our results support the hypothesis that pandemic-related stress is associated to clinical exacerbations, both as a possible consequence of the COVID-19 impact on MS care.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11591/470002
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