The following article is part of conference coverage from the 8th Joint American Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) and European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) MSVirtual2020 event. Neurology Advisor‘s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. .


The risks for suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms are not different between patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) or relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), according to study results presented at the 8th Joint American Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) and European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) MSVirtual2020 event, held September 11-13, 2020.

Previous studies have reported high rates of depression in patients with MS, but most trials included patients with RRMS. Consequently, limited data are available on the risk for depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation in those with progressive MS.

In the current study, researchers aimed to describe depressive symptoms severity and suicidal ideation in patients with progressive MS, to compare these symptoms between patients with progressive MS and RRMS, and to identify risk factors for depression and suicidal ideation in both patient groups.


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This observational study included 573 adults with progressive MS or RRMS. Depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation were assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and were not significantly different between patients with progressive MS and those with RRMS. Both patient groups indicated depressive symptoms and about 10% of patients endorsed suicidal ideation.

Greater disability, and greater speech and swallowing problems were identified as risk factors for both greater depressive symptom severity and suicidal ideation. Additional risk factors for greater depressive symptom severity included younger age and lower household income. Shorter disease duration was associated with increased risk for suicidal ideation.

For patients with progressive MS, risk factors for greater depressive symptom severity included shorter disease duration and being non-White (P <.05), while being employed was associated with increased risk for suicidal ideation (P <.05).

The study researchers concluded that “these findings underscore the importance of screening for and treating depressive disorders in all persons with MS, with particular attention to the factors that place some individuals with progressive MS at greater risk for both depression and SI [suicidal ideation], whether common or unique to their course.”

Visit Neurology Advisor‘s conference section for continuous coverage from the ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS MSVirtual2020 Forum.


Reference

Esselman E, Turner A, Phillips K, et al. Depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation in progressive multiple sclerosis compared to relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Presented at: 8th Joint American Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis and European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis MSVirtual2020 event; September 11-13, 2020. Abstract P1089.