Prevalence of bipolar disorder in patients with multiple sclerosis


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new meta-analysis has reported a high lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder (BD) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and suggests patients with MS should be routinely screened for BD.

The systematic review and meta-analysis screened 802 eligible studies identified on electronic academic databases (Ovid MEDLINE, Central, Embase, PsycINFO and Scopus) from inception to October 2020. Of these, 23 studies enrolling a total of 68,796 patients were included in the meta-analysis.

The overall pooled estimate of crude prevalence of BD in MS was 2.95 per cent (95% CI 2.12%-4.09%).

Estimated pooled effect size for lifetime prevalence (five studies) was 8.42 per cent (95% CI 4.50%-15.21%). The point prevalence rate was 2.13 per cent (95% CI 1.48%3.07%).

Subgroup analyses showed a higher prevalence of BD in the Americas compared with Europe (4.70% vs 1.99%; P=.01). The authors caution that the reason for this difference could be down to study design, assessment differences and genetic vulnerability.

Substantial heterogeneity was found in the analysis (I2=95%; P<.01 moderator analysis did not show any significant difference between study setting and showed that type region contributed to per cent of heterogeneity>