SEATTLE – researchers reported at the annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. In a novel study, about half of patients with MS reported clinically significant symptoms of depression or pain, and approximately 60% reported fatigue during that time.
Pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety are common in MS, but their prevalence in the first year after diagnosis is not well understood. To examine the rates of these conditions and how often they co-occur during that period,, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and her research colleagues had 231 adults with MS complete validated surveys at 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after diagnosis to assess symptoms of these conditions.
Overall, 47.2% of patients reported clinically significant levels of depression, 38.5% reported clinically significant levels of anxiety, 50.4% reported clinically significant pain, and 62.2% reported clinically significant fatigue at any point during the year after diagnosis. “Of those who did not have clinically significant symptoms at time of diagnosis, 21.3% went on to develop clinically significant depression, 17.0% anxiety, 30.9% pain, and 34.1% fatigue,” the authors reported.
About 23% of patients did not have clinically significant symptoms for any condition, while 20% had clinically significant symptoms for one condition, 21% for two, 19% for three, and 17% for all four.
Depression and fatigue had the highest rate of comorbidity, whereas pain and anxiety had the lowest rate of comorbidity.
“Important clinical symptoms associated with MS are present at high levels in the first year post diagnosis,” Dr. Kratz and colleagues concluded. “While the rates and severity are marginally lower than have been identified in studies of individuals farther into the MS disease course, this study is a reminder that early MS intervention should incorporate interventions for these symptoms that are known to have strong associations with quality of life.”
The researchers had no disclosures.