COVID-19’s Impact on Treatment Regimens: Did Recommendations Change?

December 24, 2020
Marco Meglio
Marco Meglio

Marco Meglio, Associate Editor for NeurologyLive, has been with the team since October 2019. Follow him on Twitter @marcomeglio1 or email him at mmeglio@neurologylive.com

NeurologyLive conducted a number of interviews and conversations with leaders within the neurology community to discuss whether the COVID-19 pandemic forced clinicians to change treatment regimens or prescriptions.

As the 2020 calendar year concludes, NeurologyLive took the time to look back and reflect on how COVID-19 and the pandemic itself has impacted clinical care across a range of different conditions and treatment strategies. The fourth segment of “Reflections on the Impact of COVID-19: A Short Expert Series,” covers the decisions clinicians faced regarding whether to pause or alter treatment regimens during the pandemic.

Earlier on in the pandemic, clinicians from each specialty condition raised questions about whether it would be safe to continue to prescribe their patients without change, or if adjustments should be made due to the unknowns about the disease. Additional concerns about the accessibility of medications were also brought up, especially as lockdowns became more rampant and supply chain worries arose.

Despite the confusion, clinicians for the most part stayed consistent with how they treated their patients, especially as more data about the virus and its effects on neurological disorders were uncovered. In March, the TS Alliance prepared frequently asked question and answer responses for those confused about their whether their treatment regimen would be altered.

Mitzi J. Williams, MD, assistant professor of neurology, Emory University, and founder and medical director, Joi Life Wellness MS Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, led a webinar during the early stages of the pandemic which gave an overview of the guidelines recommended, as well as address concerns over patient care and changing strategies.

Each clinician faced their own individual challenges and decisions. A recent panel discussion between Daniel E. Kremens, MD, JD, and Rajeev Kumar, MD, detailed how clinicians are treating OFF episodes in Parkinson disease during the pandemic and what advice they would give to other specialists about patient care.

Some felt as though changing treatment strategies would be riskier than standing put, according to Pavel Klein, MD. Klein, the director of the Mid-Atlantic Epilepsy and Sleep Center, shared his perspective in October on why there was skepticism from patients to change their treatment strategies, and whether the process was actually worth it for both parties.

Clinicians made adjustments in a multitude of different ways, including the incorporation of telemedicine, and using tools and resources within their respective communities to better understand the governmental guidelines and how to properly deliver clinical care. Click the links below to get the perspectives of those within the neurology community and whether they made treatment adjustments.