Anxiety and depression are common among patients with myasthenia gravis (MG), confirms a new study published in the journal Brain and Behavior. The prevalence of the mental disorders is higher compared to other autoimmune disorders. 

“It seems depression and anxiety are important issues and more attention needs to be paid to these psychiatric disorders,” the study authors concluded.

Read more about the comorbidities of myasthenia gravis

To review the prevalence of anxiety and depression among patients with myasthenia gravis, a team of researchers from Iran led by Omid Narimani Charan of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences conducted a literature review of studies on the estimation of anxiety and depression in patients with the disease. 

The researchers analyzed a total of 38 studies. They found the pooled prevalence of anxiety to be 33% and the pooled prevalence of depression to be 36% among patients with MG in these studies. 

When they considered depression as mild, moderate, and severe, the researchers found the prevalence of each degree of depression to be at 27%, 14%, and 9%, respectively.

They concluded that anxiety and depression are “a major concern” among patients with MG, and that “the estimation of both anxiety and depression are high even when compared to other autoimmune diseases”.

MG is a rare neuromuscular disease affecting the neuromuscular junction. It is characterized by the production of various antibodies that attack and injure receptors in muscles ​that receive nerve impulses. This results in reduced transmission of electrical signals across the neuromuscular junctions and causes symptoms such as generalized fatigability and muscle weakness.

Anxiety and depression are significant psychiatric problems that may negatively affect the health-related quality of life of patients and that may have a direct negative impact on their daily activities. 

Reference

Nadali J, Ghavampour N, Beiranvand F, et al. Prevalence of depression and anxiety among myasthenia gravis (MG) patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain Behav. Published online December 10, 2022. doi:10.1002/brb3.2840