OBJECTIVE: The expression of clinically significant depression symptoms during and post MS relapse was investigated. The point prevalence of possible depression during a confirmed MS relapse and at 2 and 6 months post-relapse was examined and the influence of disability on the time course of depression symptoms post-relapse determined.
RESULTS: Prevalence of possible depression (HADS-D score of≥8) was 44.5% during relapse, reducing to 29.2% at 2 months and 34.4% at 6 months post-relapse. HADS-D scores were significantly lower at follow-up than during relapse. Possible depression at relapse was significantly related to a higher likelihood of possible depression at 2 month follow-up (OR 12.12) and improvement in EDSS was related to a lower likelihood (OR 0.51). EDSS at relapse (OR 1.47) and possible depression at relapse (OR 11.87) were significantly associated with possible depression 6 months post-relapse.
CONCLUSIONS: High rates of possible depression were observed during relapse. Although depression scores reduced significantly post-relapse, rates of possible depression at follow-ups remained high. The results suggest that although improvements in disability may influence depression symptoms over the short-term, once depression symptoms are elevated at relapse then depression symptoms become persistent.