Background: Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic neuromuscular disease, which physically and mentally affects the patient’s life, with depression being one of the most important psychological complications in these patients. This study aims to investigate the prevalence of depression and its associated factors in a group of Iranian patients with MG.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in which consecutive patients diagnosed with MG who referred to two referral neuromuscular clinics affiliated to the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, were evaluated for eligibility. Patients with a previously known psychiatric disorder and those with a family history of mental disorders were excluded. Eligible patients were interviewed and screened for depression through the administration of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the Iranian version of Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II).
Results: A total of 62 patients participated in this study. The total prevalence of depression according to the HDRS and BDI-II scores was 64.5% and 53.2%, respectively. The mild depression was the most frequent level of depression based on the HDRS (33.9%) and BDI-II (22.6%) scores. None of the variables, including age, sex, duration of the disease, and dosages of prednisolone, pyridostigmine, and azathioprine, were correlated with the severity of depression. The number of academic years was the only variable associated with the lower HDRS score (P = 0.037).
Conclusion: Based on the current findings, depression was common among Iranian patients with MG. The severity of depressive symptoms was unrelated to age, sex, marital status, duration of the disease, the daily dosage of medications, and thymectomy status. Further investigations are needed to reveal the exact burden of depression in patients with MG and address the importance of preventive interventions for improving the quality of life (QOL) in these patients.