The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on the healthcare community, impacting the physical and mental health of healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers alike. For patients managing chronic diseases, their experience with the healthcare system has changed. Whether patients are wary of seeking help because they don’t want to expose themselves to the virus or are uncertain how to engage in telehealth visits with their physician, many patients are struggling with disease management.
Before the pandemic, patients with epilepsy already often experienced physical and psycho-social challenges, which negatively impacted their quality of life.1 For the 65 million people living with epilepsy worldwide,2 failure to effectively manage their condition can have long-lasting and life threatening consequences.1, 3, 4 The pandemic has understandably caused anxiety levels to increase, but for patients with epilepsy, the potentially serious impact of having a seizure, coupled with patients’ existing challenges, can make this time even more stressful.
James Wheless, MD, Professor and Chief of Pediatric Neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program and Neuroscience Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, explained that the importance of caring for the emotional health of epilepsy patients cannot be underestimated. “If patients with epilepsy are stressed or anxious, it can impact their sleep, which can then trigger a seizure. Creating a plan to help manage and treat the stress and anxiety that may be intensified amid the pandemic can assist in potentially lessening the uptick of seizures and emergency department use.”
People living with epilepsy, their caregivers and their families, should have a seizure action plan that includes being able to recognize a seizure or a potential seizure emergency, knowing exactly how to act and, if applicable, when to use a prescribed rescue medication, and when to seek emergency care.5 A healthcare provider can work with patients and caregivers to help create individualized plans that fit their needs, which will help to ease some of the stress and anxiety often experienced by people living with epilepsy.
UCB’s Focus on the Epilepsy Community During COVID-19
The growing impact of the pandemic on emotional health has made strong and consistent support for patients with epilepsy a necessity. UCB is fully committed to helping all of its patient communities, including people living with epilepsy, navigate this uncharted territory and provide the valuable resources patients need, including access to proper care and treatment.
“We are committed to providing solutions for people living with epilepsy, especially during these challenging times,” said Mike Davis, Head of U.S. Neurology at UCB. “UCB takes great pride in our
Access to Medication Remains Top Priority
To date, there has been no shortage of any of UCB's epilepsy medicines, and the company continues to monitor its supply chain to mitigate any possible disruption. In fact, by using the SCORE digital system, UCB’s manufacturing and supply operations data management tool, UCB is able to track the actual quantity of medicines available to serve patients and anticipate any potential transportation delays when shipping its medicines. During the pandemic, SCORE has provided accurate and near real-time information so that UCB has visibility into its continuity of supply for patients across the globe.
“For people living with epilepsy who are experiencing seizures or seizure emergencies, we remain committed to helping patients gain access to UCB medicines,” said Mike Davis. “UCB has also enhanced its affordability solutions for our medications during the pandemic to further support people living with epilepsy.”
Patient Support Programs Provide Valuable Information, Inspiration, and Care
Providing patients with ample support and resources takes on an even greater urgency now. UCB has also expanded and extended a number of programs to help the epilepsy community during this unprecedented time. These include:
- Patient Assistance Program (PAP) — UCB has expanded its PAP to help eligible patients who have been impacted by COVID-19 by expediting enrollment to help ensure uninterrupted access to their medicines at no cost. This change will help patients who have previously had difficulty affording UCB medicines due to job loss, job furlough, or loss of insurance coverage.
- ucbCARES® — UCB’s assistance program is ready to help anyone impacted by COVID-19 find answers to their questions and ensure they receive the respect and care they deserve. Contact ucbCARES at +1-844-599-CARE (2273), via email at [email protected] or visit: https://ucb-usa.com/Patients/Patients
- Epilepsy Advocate™ — UCB supports the Epilepsy Advocate program, enabling a community for people living with epilepsy, their family members, and their caregivers, to share inspirational personal success stories and best practices for topics like telemedicine and other helpful epilepsy resources.
UCB’s commitment to patients is stronger than ever. Through its scientific advances, strategic acquisitions, advocacy partnerships, and other patient-focused programs and resources, UCB is harnessing its strengths to deliver on the company’s promise of meeting and exceeding patient needs. To learn more and access UCB resources, please visit: https://ucb-usa.com/Responsibility/coronavirus-updates.
- The Epilepsy Foundation of America. Challenges with Epilepsy. Accessed on 2nd July 2020 from https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/challenges-epilepsy
- The Epilepsy Foundation of America . Who gets epilepsy? Accessed on 2nd July 2020 from http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/epilepsy-101/who-gets-epilepsy
- The Epilepsy Foundation of America. Early Death and Epilepsy. Accessed on 9th July 2020 from https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/early-death-and-sudep
- Buck D, et al. Patients' Experiences of Injury as a Result of Epilepsy. Epilepsia. 38(4):439-444, 1997.
- The Epilepsy Foundation of America. Seizure First Aid and Safety. Accessed on 10th July 2020 from https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/seizure-first-aid-and-safety
ucbCARES® is a registered trademark, and Epilepsy Advocate™ is a trademark, of the UCB Group of Companies.
©2020 UCB, Inc., Smyrna, GA 30080. All rights reserved.