Advice for Multiple sclerosis patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

Walton Centre Statement and advice for Multiple sclerosis patients during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The Walton Centre MS team is working hard to continue to maintain our service and minimise the risk to our patients from the COVID-19 virus and the effects of MS.  We will not be able to speak individually to all patients throughout this challenging period but we appreciate the anxiety that the current COVID-19 pandemic has generated for patients with MS, their families and carers.  We hope that highlighting the most important sources of advice and information is of assistance at this time.

The situation with the COVID-19 epidemic is changing fast and for those who want to keep up to date with current government advice and how it affects those with MS we recommend visiting the MS Trust's website which includes the latest news and developments (https://www.mstrust.org.uk/). 

Drugs used to treat MS do not increase the chances of getting the COVID-19 virus but some drugs may have a small effect on worsening the symptoms.  This needs to be balanced against the beneficial effects of these drugs on treating MS and patients should not stop taking their medication without discussing this with their MS team.  We are currently reviewing all prescriptions by following the advice of the Association of British Neurologists.   Most patients will not need to change their medication and we will be contacting all patients who do.  If you are taking an MS drug and wish to look at how this might affect you then you can find the advice online at this address - https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.theabn.org/resource/collection/6750BAE6-4CBC-4DDB-A684-116E03BFE634/ABN_Guidance_on_DMTs_for_MS_and_COVID19.pdf

The government has provided advice that patients with long term neurological conditions are vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and should undertake stringent social distancing.  As MS specialists, we are aware that MS does not directly affect the immune system and some, but not all patients with MS are more vulnerable to the virus. Patients who have recently received  certain MS drugs and patients who have higher levels of disability are at more risk and we advise that MS patients who have any of the following risk factors should follow government advice on stringent social distancing:

  • Patients with higher levels of disability who require a wheelchair to mobilise outside of the house.
  •  Patients who have received Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) within the past 6/12 months
  • Patients who have received Cladribine (Mavenclad) within the past 2 years
  • Patients who have received Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) within the past 4 years.
  • Patients who have received high dose steroids (Methylprednisolone) within the past 2 weeks

 

It is important that all patients continue to attend for any blood monitoring required for their MS treatment.