Influence of the COVID-19 outbreak in people with epilepsy: Analysis of a Spanish population (EPICOVID registry).
Epilepsy & behavior : E&B. 2020;:107396
BACKGROUND The aim of this study was to have a better understanding of the influence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in people with epilepsy (PWE) and to assess whether there have been changes in seizure control during the current COVID-19 outbreak, exploring the possible causes thereof. METHODS This is an observational, retrospective study based on prospective data collection of 100 successive patients who attended an epilepsy outpatient clinic either face-to-face or telephonically during the months of the COVID-19 outbreak and national state of emergency. RESULTS One hundred patients were included, 52% women, mean age 42.4 years. During the COVID-19 period, 27% of the patients presented an increase of >50% of seizure frequency. An increase of stress/anxiety (odds ratios (OR): 5.78; p = 0.008) and a prior higher seizure frequency (OR: 12.4; p = 0.001) were associated with worsening of seizures. Other risk factors were exacerbation of depression, sleep deprivation, less physical activity, and history of epilepsy surgery. Three patients had status epilepticus (SE) and one a cluster of seizures. Likewise, 9% of patients improved their seizure control. Reduction in stress/anxiety (OR: 0.05; p = 0.03) and recent adjustment of antiepileptics (OR: 0.07; p = 0.01) acted as protecting factors. CONCLUSIONS A high proportion of PWE suffered a significant worsening of their seizure control during the months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emotional distress due to home confinement was the main factor for the change in seizure control. Promoting physical activity and adequate sleep may minimize the potential impact of the pandemic in PWE. Ensuring correct follow-up can prevent decompensation in those PWE at high risk.