HealthDay News — Pain, which is prevalent in more than 50% of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, is independently predicted by anxiety, according to a study published in Pain Medicine.

Jelena Drulovic, MD, PhD, from the Clinical Center of Serbia in Belgrade, and colleagues conducted a multicenter, international, cross-sectional survey to examine the prevalence, intensity, and associations of pain in MS. A total of 650 consecutive patients, diagnosed according to the Revised McDonald Diagnostic Criteria, were recruited from seven MS centers. During face-to-face interviews with neurologists, a semi-structured questionnaire was administered.

The researchers found that the lifetime prevalence of pain was 66.5% (point prevalence, 44.3%). Comorbidity of pain and depression exhibited a prevalence of 29.1%. There were significant associations between pain and older age, primary-progressive MS, higher Expanded Disability Status Scale score, and higher scores of Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety. Anxiety was found to be an independent predictor of pain in multivariate linear regression analysis (P< 0.001).

“We confirmed high prevalence of pain, affecting approximately more than half of patients during the course of MS,” the authors write. “Pain in MS is associated with disability, depression, and especially with anxiety, which has significant implications for treatment.”

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  1. Drulovic J et al. Pain Medicine. 2015; doi:10.1111/pme.12731.