Access to Immunoglobulin Treatment for CIDP Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Immunoglobulin supplies are limited; their access for patients diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) may have been difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted with CIDP patients (n=16, 68.8% female, mean age 60.4±11.3) recruited from three Montreal tertiary care institutions. Inclusion criteria were patients over 18 years old who were receiving immunoglobulin treatment as of March 1st, 2020. Patients were asked to complete a questionnaire inquiring about changes in their immunoglobulin treatment during the pandemic and about their quality of life. Their charts were reviewed by an independent investigator. We used weighted chi-squared statistical tests and Cramer’s V correlation ratios to measure associations with treatment change.
Eighteen months after the pandemic started, 50% of patients were receiving the same treatment, 25% were receiving immunoglobulin treatment at a different frequency, 6.3% were receiving a different dose, 12.5% were receiving a different dose and frequency, and 6.3% were receiving a different treatment. Reasons associated with treatment change were worsening of neurological condition (18.8%; Cramer’s V=0.480; p-value=0.055), improvement of neurological condition (25%; Cramer’s V=0.577; p-value=0.021) and reduced availability of treatment (6.3%; Cramer’s V=0.258; p-value=0.302). There were no significant correlations between lower quality of life (p-value=0.323) or lower Rasch-built Overall Disability Scale score (p-value=0.574) and treatment change.
Difficulty accessing immunoglobulin treatment was infrequent and not significantly associated with treatment change for CIDP patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. A larger multicentre study across multiple sites might identify other treatment access problems resulting from the pandemic.
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