Epilepsy and Coronavirus

Following confirmed cases of Coronavirus or COVID19 in the Republic Of Ireland, we have received a small number of queries about what the virus could mean for people with epilepsy.

The queries have related to (1) whether there is any increased risk or susceptibility to the virus as a result of having epilepsy and (2) in relation to potential supply issues of epilepsy medications.

(1) Risk for People With Epilepsy

The Department of Health & the HSE have issued no specific guidelines for people with epilepsy. Neither have stated that there is any increased risk of contracting the virus owing to having epilepsy. However, it is important to note and apply the guidelines that have been issued to prevent the spread of the virus. The development of any fever, virus, flu etc can lead to increased seizure activity for some people with epilepsy.  Therefore, please take the time to carry out the proper preventative measures as outlined below:

-Wash your hands properly and regularly
-Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
-Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
-Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
-Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

(2) Availability of Epilepsy Medications

In relation to the availability of medications, Epilepsy Ireland reached out to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (www.hpra.ie) who have confirmed that at present there is no immediate risk to medication supply. They state:

“The HPRA is actively monitoring the situation in relation to any potential future impact of the outbreak of Covid-19 on the supply chains of medicines used in Ireland. There are national and international multi-stakeholder coordinated efforts relating to the management of any possible impact of Covid-19. The HPRA is participating in this work, and there are no reported current or near term medicine shortages due to the coronavirus at this time, as is the case across the EU. The HPRA remains vigilant to any potential risk and will continue to work with other authorities at national, European and international level to closely monitor the situation and ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to facilitate continuity of supply.”

Please be sure to follow the advice which is being issued through the correct channels, i.e., the Department of Health & HSE rather than other untrustworthy sources of information.

Should you have any other concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local community resource officer.

Further information and advice on COVID19 is available on the HSE’s dedicated site for the matter here.