All patients with multiple sclerosis should be opportunistically screened for depression, according to US nurse researchers.
Their findings suggest nearly half of MS patients have depression. They found 41% of the 607 study subjects had clinically significant depression symptom scores at baseline and that these scores did not fluctuate significantly over the seven years of the study.
Younger age, longer time since diagnosis of MS, progressive forms of MS, and greater extent of functional limitation were predictive of greater depressive symptoms, said the authors from Texas University in Austin.
'Initiation of contact with health professionals is often caused by exacerbation of symptoms, thus creating an opportunity for nurses to screen for the presence of depressive symptoms,' they said.
Archives of Psychiatric Nursing (2007) 21: 181-191