The study, “Prevalence of mental disorders is higher in patients with multiple sclerosis than in the general population or in patients with rheumatoid arthritis in France,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal – Experimental, Translational and Clinical.
Mental disorders have been reported to occur more often in MS patients. They can have an impact on several factors in an MS patient’s life, including increasing the risk of disability progression, lowering quality of life, and affecting the ability to adhere to treatment, including disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). But few studies have addressed the issue of mental disorders in MS patients specifically in the French population.
To address this, a group of researchers in France assessed the prevalence of mental disorders in MS patients compared with healthy people used as controls and people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The prevalence of mental disorders was analyzed using randomly selected population data from the National Inter-Scheme Information System on Health Insurance from 2011 to 2015.
For each MS patient, up to five healthy controls and one RA patient from the general population were included.
An initial analysis compared 1,145 MS patients (median age of 50 years) with 5,725 age-matched healthy controls. In a second analysis, 878 MS patients (median age of 54 years) were matched by age to 878 RA patients.
Of the MS patients, 1,006, or 87%, were considered to have long-term MS, with a mean duration of 10 to 11 years, according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision Version. Roughly half of the patients, or 548, received treatment with at least one DMT over the study period.
The prevalence of mental disorders was 2.7 times higher among MS patients than healthy controls — 37.3% vs. 13.6% — a statistically significant difference. The prevalence was also higher than in RA patients but to a lesser extent — 41.1% vs 21.1%, or 1.95 times higher.
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