Information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) disease modifying therapies

Microscopic image of a virus

Information for people who attend NHS Lothian MS clinics at the Anne Rowling Clinic.  Published Friday 20 March 2020.

This article provides information and advice about the current situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it can affect people with multiple sclerosis (MS), in particular those being treated with disease modifying therapies (DMTs).

Sources of up-to-date advice

The COVID-19 situation is developing rapidly and we strongly recommend you check the following sources of information regularly. These information sources are updated on a daily basis. Our doctors have provided input into the advice on the MS Society website and you will find many up-to-date answers to your questions here:

At the time of writing, all patients with MS are recommended to stay on their MS disease modifying therapies. Suddenly stopping your MS medications can lead to reactivation of MS, and sometimes this can cause a serious relapse. Please do not stop taking your DMTs without talking to the MS team first. More detailed guidance about this can be found on the MS Society website.

The Anne Rowling Clinic and telephone consultations

From Monday 23rd March, all appointments at the Anne Rowling Clinic will take place by telephone.

If you have an appointment at the Clinic from Monday 23rd March onwards, a member of the team will phone you at your allotted appointment time to carry out your consultation by telephone. Please do not come to the Clinic. If you need regular blood tests then the MS team will discuss with you how these can be safely arranged.  

We are also experiencing a high number of telephone and email enquiries with lower than usual staff. So please help us, and other patients, by only contacting us with questions related to your neurological condition that you attend the Anne Rowling Clinic about and not any other medical enquiries. Thank you. 

Telephone: 0131 465 9500 (NHS Lothian / Anne Rowling Clinic patients only)

MS Nurse Specialists Telephone: 0131 537 2117 (NHS Lothian / Anne Rowling Clinic patients only)

Infusions at the Programmed Investigation Unit (PIU), Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

If you are having an infused (intravenous) therapy at the PIU, such as ocrelizumab, alemtuzumab or natalizumab, at the current time you should continue to attend as normal, but please phone ahead to check. 

If you feel unwell or are self-isolating because you have symptoms please do not come to the PIU. Instead, telephone the PIU nurses so your infusion can be rearranged.

For the PIU nurses telephone: 0131 537 2114

If you take a daily tablet or injectable treatment

If you develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection then please follow the advice on the NHS Inform website, in particular when to contact the NHS 111 service.

If you are regularly taking a tablet or injectable DMT (e.g. interferon, glatiramer acetate, teriflunomide, dimethylfumarate, fingolimod), and you have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 coronavirus infection, then you should contact the MS team for advice about whether your DMT should be paused until you have recovered. If you take cladribine tablets and are about to take a new course, please contact the MS team who will advise you what to do.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, or wish to discuss things further please contact the MS nurses on 0131 537 2117. The MS team are currently experiencing a high number of telephone calls  so please be patient.

This article was published on: Thursday, March 19, 2020