AES Statement on COVID-19

Last Updated: March 10, 2020

For a library of COVID-19 resources compiled by AES for epilepsy professionals, please click here.

The American Epilepsy Society (AES) urges its members and their patients to be aware and cautious while keeping the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in perspective. In addition to monitoring US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statements and directives, healthcare providers (HCPs) should closely monitor statements and actions of state and local health departments.  

Patients should be instructed to work with their HCP’s office and pharmacy to initiate prescription refills at least one week before they anticipate running out of medications for 30-day prescriptions and at least two weeks in advance for 90-day prescriptions. While not always possible under payer practices, where feasible and warranted by individual patient situations, HCPs may wish to consider writing 90-day rather than 30-day supplies of medications to ensure that patients have a sufficient quantity of medications on hand.

In a reminder of usual best practice, providers should encourage patients to work with their pharmacists to synchronize prescription refills of all medications, not just antiseizure medications. In addition, patients should be advised to discuss home delivery options with their pharmacy. These measures can minimize public exposure, in the event that public health authorities limit travel or public activities. Epilepsy centers and HCPs should also consider readiness for utilizing remote care options, if possible; i.e., telephone, telehealth, and electronic health record (EHR) messaging.

Viral illnesses may be a trigger for seizures for some, and patients should have an up-to-date plan for managing breakthrough seizures. If medications are involved in this plan, patients should ensure that they have a supply of these medications on hand, with expiration dates at least six months away.

Health professionals may wish to monitor drug shortages via the FDA Drug Shortages web page or the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) drug shortage tracking system which can now be integrated into EHR systems.

Additional advice for patients with epilepsy and their families is provided on the Epilepsy Foundation web page, Concerns about Coronavirus.

AES will continue to monitor the impact on its members and their patients of the COVID-19 situation and will update information and guidance as needed.