Fast and safe: Optimising multiple sclerosis infusions during COVID-19 pandemic

Louise Rath, Minh Viet Bui, Julian Ellis, John Carey, Josephine Baker, Lisa Taylor, Hasini Fernando, Nicola Taylor, Poppy Savage, Janene Richards, Michael Zhong, Tomas Kalincik, Olga Skibina, Robb Wesselingh, Ai Lan Nguyen, Mastura Monif, Helmut Butzkueven, Anneke van der Walt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic challenges multiple sclerosis services to be innovative in delivering infusible therapies. To reduce time in clinical settings, and potential staff or space losses, we implemented rapid infusion protocols for selected patients. Objective: To analyse the rate of infusion related reactions and patient experience of rapid infusions of natalizumab and ocrelizumab. To document time reduction patients spent in clinical settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Patients with prior exposure to at least three natalizumab or two 300mg ocrelizumab infusions were approved for rapid protocols. A retrospective audit and survey were completed. Results: We analysed 269 rapid natalizumab infusions and 100 rapid ocrelizumab infusions. Infusion related reactions during the natalizumab or ocrelizumab infusions occurred in two patients (1.52%) and eight patients (8%), respectively. All infusion related reactions were mild to moderate and did not require infusion discontinuation. No infusion reactions occurred during the post-infusion observation. Patient experience was positive. Conclusion: Frequency or severity of infusion related reactions in rapid infusions were no different compared to published data. In the setting of COVID-19, pandemic rapid infusion protocols could potentially save hospital resources and limit patient exposure to a high-risk clinical setting while still maintaining ongoing treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102642
Number of pages6
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • infusion related reactions
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • natalizumab
  • ocrelizumab
  • post observational time
  • rapid infusions
  • resource utilisation

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