INTRODUCTION: This study aimed to investigate the considerations of patients with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) related to their disease and treatment, the frequency of going out, treatment and routine examination interruptions, and physical exercise habits during the pandemic.
METHODS: Seven hundred forty-four pwMS (mean age: 41.44 years, 29.2% male, 70.8% female), who were followed in MS Outpatient Clinic in Dokuz Eylul University Hospital, Izmir, Turkey, were recruited. A structured survey was created and administered via phone to assess attitudes towards disease, the frequency of going out, treatment and routine examination interruptions, and physical exercise behavior. Additionally, demographic and clinical characteristics, their health status, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms were also asked.
RESULTS: 66.5% (n=495) of responders stated that their thoughts about the disease did not change during the pandemic. 94% (n=699) of the pwMS reported that they did not experience any disruption in their treatment. 59.9% (n=446) of the pwMS indicated no disruption in their routine controls. 25% of responders reported less physical activity, 17.1% reported more physical activity, 16.5% continued physical activity as usual. 41.4% reported that they did not perform any physical activity in the past and did not do so during the pandemic.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: This large cross-sectional study has shown that the attitudes of the majority of pwMS towards their disease have not changed. The continuation of the follow-up of the patients during the COVID-19 period with telehealth applications may ensure the maintenance of treatment adherence and patients attitudes about the disease.