Document Type : Original Article
Assistant Professor and Chief of Neurosurgery Department, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Assistant Professor of Neurology Department, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery Department, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Department of Neurology, Rasool-e Akram Hospital, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Shefa Neuroscience Research Center, Khatam Al Anbia Hospital, Tehran, Iran
Department of Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmaceutical Administration, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
The Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, Iran university of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Pharmacist, University College London, England, London
Medical Student, Iran university of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Background: In the realm of healthcare, the symbiotic relationship between social networks and medical advancements has attracted significant attention. This study aimed to explore the effectiveness and safety of this approach, with a particular focus on the role of social networks in disseminating information and shaping patient experiences.
Methods: In a prospective single-arm interventional study, we examined the effects of integrating social networks – Skype and WhatsApp – to enhance the safety and efficacy outcomes of low-dose Rituximab treatment for CNS Demyelinating Diseases. Patients eligible for treatment were recruited, and ethical consent was secured. The intervention involved informative Skype groups, led by medical experts, providing education and follow-up, and WhatsApp groups for peer support and question-answer sessions. Clinical data and interaction metrics were collected to evaluate treatment outcomes and engagement levels.
Results: A total of 99 patients received rituximab, with 42 diagnosed with RRMS, 43 with SPMS, and 14 with NMOSD. The treatment period ranged from 12 to 40 months. Among the RRMS patients, 8 (19%) experienced new attacks, while 10 (23%) of the SPMS patients and 1 (7%) of the NMOSD patients had new attacks. In cases of RRMS and NMOSD, there was a decrease in EDSS scores. Additionally, SPMS and NMOSD patients showed a decrement in serum IgG levels. Two cases of drug adverse events were reported. Mean EDSS variability had a decrease in RRMS (-0.32, P=0.06) and NMOSD (-0.57, P=0.004) and had a slight increase among patients with SPMS (+0.19, P=0.23).
Conclusion: Recognizing the impact of social networks can lead to improved patient care and tailored support systems.