Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and comorbid psychiatric conditions have increased severity of subsequent neurological disability, according to results published in Neurology. Clinicians should optimize management of psychiatric comorbidities to help mitigate disability progression in these patients.

The study included 2312 participants with MS. The researchers used validated algorithms to identify participants who had comorbid depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder utilizing diagnostic codes. After following participants for a mean of 10.5 years, 35.8% met the criteria for a mood or anxiety disorder.

After adjusting for disease duration and course, age, sex, socioeconomic status, physical comorbidity count, and disease-modifying therapy exposure, the researchers found that a presence of a mood or anxiety disorder was associated with a higher EDSS score (β coefficient=0.28, P =.0002).

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However, the findings were only statistically significant in women (β coefficient = 0.31, P =.0004), not men (β coefficient 0.22, P =.17).

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“The importance of recognizing psychiatric comorbidities in persons with MS and optimizing their treatment is clear, both from the perspective of improved quality of life and disability reduction,” the investigators concluded.


Please see original reference for full list of disclosures.


McKay KA, Tremlett H, Fisk JD, et al. Psychiatric comorbidity is associated with disability progression in multiple sclerosis [published online March 9, 2018]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000005302