October 3, 2021

Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Patients with Epilepsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Objective: To investigate psychological comorbidities in patients with epilepsy during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Method: A systematic review and meta-analysis approach was used to comprehensively search MEDLINE, CENTRAL, EMBASE, and ClinicalTrials.gov databases for relevant studies. Studies that reported psychological stress in patients with epilepsy during the COVID-19 pandemic were included. Psychological comorbidities were defined as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. Pooled proportions of psychological comorbidities with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were assessed using a random-effects model. The quality of assessment for each study, heterogeneity between the studies, and publication bias were also evaluated.

Results: A total of 28 studies with 7959 patients/caregivers were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled proportions of anxiety/worry, depression/bad mood, and sleep disturbance were 38.9% (95% CI: 31.3-46.7); I2 = 97%; p < 0.01, 30.9% (95% CI: 23.3-38.9), I2 = 97%; p < 0.01, and 36.5% (95% CI: 28.3-45.1), I2 = 97%, p < 0.01, respectively.

Conclusion: Although the heterogeneity was high, our results showed a relatively high incidence of psychological comorbidities. Therefore, clinicians need to intervene early in the stress of patients with epilepsy to prevent worsening of stress, which can result in seizure worsening.

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