The team compared the risk of disability progression (assessed through the expanded disability status scale, or EDSS) and conversion to secondary progressive MS (SPMS) in MS patients with depression or bipolar disorder to that of patients without these conditions.
The study was based on the analysis of clinical data from 15,541 patients enrolled in the Swedish National MS registry (SMSreg). Among this sample, 1,320 had at least one diagnosis of depression, 271 had at least one diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and 4,921 had been prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), a commonly used class of antidepressant medications, at least once.
The analysis revealed that patients taking SSRIs were at a significantly higher risk of being increasingly disabled. Specifically, they were 1.4 times, 1.97 times, and 2.2 times more likely of reaching sustained EDSS scores of 3, 4 and 6 (the higher the score, the greater the disability level).