The objective of this prospective study was to assess the changes in anxiety levels, and their relationship with coping strategies over the first four months of fingolimod treatment in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Data were collected at the inclusion visit (Visit 1) and 4 months later (Visit 2). We used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess the level of anxiety and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations scale to assess the coping strategies used when engaged with stressful situations. The HADS anxiety scores were compared between Visits 1 and 2, according to the preferred coping strategy. At Visit 1, half of the 198 patients included were considered to be anxious (doubtful or in a certain way). The same proportion preferentially used an avoidance-oriented strategy and one-third preferentially used an emotion-oriented strategy. The mean HADS anxiety score decreased significantly (p = 0.001) at Visit 2 (8.1 ± 4.0) compared to Visit 1 (8.8 ± 4.3), particularly in the group of patients who used an emotion-oriented strategy (p = 0.002). In conclusion, the initiation of fingolimod in patients with RRMS is followed by a decrease of anxiety levels which vary according to the coping strategy used.

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