Conference Coverage

Which comorbidities most diminish quality of life in patients with MS?



Systemic lupus erythematosus, depression, hyperthyroidism, and anxiety are among the comorbidities that most affect health-related quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to an analysis presented at the meeting held by the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis. In addition, comorbidities account for about 18% of the variance in health-related quality of life, and a higher number of comorbidities correlates with lower health-related quality of life in a “clear dose–response” manner, the researchers said.

The “magnitude of effect emphasizes the need for recognition and appropriate management of comorbidities,” said presenting author Lara Marie Pangan Lo, a researcher at Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania, Australia, and her research colleagues. “The individual effect sizes may assist with the prioritizing of comorbidities that require more or less aggressive treatment in order to minimize” their impact.

Prior studies have found that patients with MS have lower health-related quality of life, compared with the general population, and that comorbidities affect patients’ quality of life, but few studies have looked at the effects of individual comorbidities on quality of life, Ms. Lo and her colleagues said. To examine the total impact and relative importance of comorbidities on psychosocial, physical, and overall health-related quality of life in people with MS, the investigators analyzed survey data from 902 participants in the survey-based Australian MS Longitudinal Study. They used linear regression and dominance analysis to assess relationships between comorbidities and participants’ Assessment of Quality of Life-8 Dimensions scores, which can range from 0 (death) to 1 (perfect health).

The predicted health-related quality of life for patients without comorbidities was 0.74. After the researchers adjusted for age, sex, and education, they found that systemic lupus erythematosus (reported by 1.56% of patients), depression (41.25%), hyperthyroidism (3.01%), and anxiety (38.35%) were associated with the greatest estimated decreases in health-related quality of life (–0.16, –0.15, –0.12, and –0.11, respectively). Depression and anxiety had the largest effect on psychosocial health–related quality of life, whereas systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and hyperthyroidism had the largest impact on physical health–related quality of life. Other comorbidities that significantly correlated with quality of life included osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, migraine, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The study was supported by Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia. The authors had no relevant disclosures.

SOURCE: Lo LMP et al. ACTRIMS Forum 2019, Abstract 80.

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