Social distancing, curfew restrictions, travel restrictions and quarantines were imposed in order to reduce the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. These restrictions have caused a severe reduction in admissions to hospitals. Therefore, with this study, we aimed to investigate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on treatment processes and adherence to therapy of the patients that require to receive omalizumab due to chronic urticaria and to address effect of the pandemic on anxiety level of this patient group.
Among the patients who were being followed-up for chronic urticaria and receiving omalizumab for this, files of the patients were examined retrospectively. These patients were applied a mini survey and a validated coronavirus anxiety index. Ninety-eight patients (Female: 65; Male: 33) were recruited in the study. The patients 3-month adherence to therapy during March-April-May 2020 was 42.9%. It was the lowest during April (56.1%). The curfew (51%) and the fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2 (50%) were the most common reasons. Although rates of admissions to emergency department, an increase in symptoms of urticaria and need for an additional treatment were higher in the patients with chronic urticaria who were nonadherent to omalizumab therapy, this difference was not statistically significant (p: 0.113, p: 0.216, p: 0.141, respectively). During the pandemic, patients adherence to therapy has reduced due to both government-related and patient-related reasons. For patients with chronic urticaria, their adherence to therapy should be ensured by minimizing the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, in order to enhance adherence to therapy of this patient group and make access to health institutions easier, it should be considered for these patients to provide some tolerances and privileges in pandemic-related restrictions.
Key words: COVID-19, omalizumab, chronic urticaria