THURSDAY, Sept. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Depression in multiple sclerosis (MS) may increase the risks for incident vascular disease and mortality, and the effects of depression and MS on all-cause mortality appear to be synergistic, according to a study published online Sept. 1 in Neurology.

Raffaele Palladino, M.D., Ph.D., from Imperial College London, and colleagues conducted a population-based retrospective matched cohort study involving people with MS and matched controls, stratified by depression status. Data were included for 12,251 people with MS and 72,572 matched controls.

The researchers found that 21 and 9 percent of those with MS and controls, respectively, had depression at baseline. People with MS had an increased risk for incident vascular disease compared with matched controls, regardless of whether they had comorbid depression. The 10-year hazard of all-cause mortality was 1.75-, 3.88-, and 5.43-fold greater for controls with depression, patients with MS without depression, and patients with MS and depression, respectively. There was a synergistic interaction observed between MS status and depression, with the interaction accounting for 14 percent of the observed effect.

“Additional studies should be conducted to evaluate whether effectively treating depression in the MS population (perhaps with a lower threshold than those not affected by MS) reduces the risk of incident vascular disease and therefore reduces disability progression and mortality,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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