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ACTRIMS 2023 | The burden of psychiatric morbidity in the MS prodrome

Psychiatric morbidity is common in multiple sclerosis (MS), with studies consistently showing higher rates of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder among patients with MS compared to the general population. To understand if this difference in prevalence extended to the MS prodrome, Anibal Chertcoff, MD, PhD, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, conducted a matched case-control study assessing the presence and relative burden of psychiatric morbidity in patients with MS in the 5-years prior to MS onset. Administrative and clinical data was used to investigate psychiatric morbidity in over 6800 MS cases and 31,800 controls matched by age, sex, and postal code. In the 5 year period prior to MS onset, the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity was higher in MS cases versus controls, in both the administrative (28% vs 15%) and clinical (22% vs 14%) cohorts. To assess the burden, the investigators considered physician visits for psychiatric morbidity, psychiatrist visits, psychiatric-related hospital admissions, and psychopharmacological prescription dispensation. The burden of psychiatric morbidity was higher in patients with MS versus controls based on all four measures, increasing across the 5 year period to the greatest percentage increase in the year before diagnosis. This interview took place at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2023 in San Diego, CA.
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