Antidepressant use among individuals with MS.

TitleAntidepressant use among individuals with MS.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsJohnson KL, Kraft GH, Kuehn CM, Hinton K, Amtmann D, Ehde DM
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care

Depression is a common symptom among individuals with MS and is often associated with fatigue, cognitive changes and greater disability. We wanted to determine the prevalence of antidepressant use among individuals living with MS. We hypothesized that those using antidepressants might differ in terms of their demographic, symptom, functional status, and immunomodulating therapy use compared to those not using antidepressants. We examined survey data collected from individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) living in Eastern Washington State (N=548, 55% response rate). The survey included instruments measuring demographic characteristics, disease history, symptoms, health care and health status, depression, coping, and use of immunomodulating therapies. Similar to other studies, 47% (N = 250) of our respondents scored in the range of people with depressive symptoms on the CESD (CESD>16). We found that 35% (N=189) of our sample reported currently taking antidepressants, while 43% (N=108) of those endorsing depression reported currently taking an antidepressant. Those taking antidepressants were more likely to have moderate-severe functional limitations (chi2=6.76, p<0.05) , and report fatigue as being a problem (chi2=14.1, p<0.000), but less likely to endorse pain (chi2=13.1, p<0.000). Those taking antidepressants were also more likely to be currently taking one of the immunomodulating therapies (avonex, betaseron, or copaxone) (chi2=15.1, p<0.000). Use of antidepressants within this population was not associated with age, duration of MS, or measures of life satisfaction and coping. 57% (N=142) of those endorsing depression are not currently being past antidepressant use was unsuccessful (35% took antidepressants in the past); they are undiagnosed or haven't reported depressive symptoms to their health care provider; they didn't report use of antidepressants on the survey; may prefer not using medication, or prefer using alternative therapies. More research is needed to answer research questions about use of antidepressants by individuals with MS.

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