Prevalence of bipolar disorder in multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Boney Joseph, Aiswarya L. Nandakumar, Ahmed T. Ahmed, Neethu Gopal, M. Hassan Murad, Mark A. Frye, W. Oliver Tobin, Balwinder Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disabling, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system and is often associated with psychiatric comorbidities. Some studies suggest increased prevalence of bipolar disorder (BD) in MS. Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the prevalence of BD in adults with MS. Methods We registered this review with PROSPERO and searched electronic databases (Ovid MEDLINE, Central, Embase, PsycINFO and Scopus) for eligible studies from earliest inception to October 2020. Prevalence data of BD in adult patients with MS were extracted. Meta-analysis was conducted using random-effects model. Findings Of the 802 articles that were screened, 23 studies enrolling a total of 68 796 patients were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence rate of BD in patients with MS was 2.95% (95% CI 2.12% to 4.09%) with higher prevalence in the Americas versus Europe. The lifetime prevalence of BD was 8.4% in patients with MS. Subgroup analysis showed a higher prevalence of BD in MS in females (7.03%) than in males (5.64%), which did not reach statistical significance (p=0.53). Conclusions This meta-analysis suggests a high lifetime prevalence of BD in patients with MS. Patients with MS should be routinely screened for BD. Further assessment of bipolar comorbidity in MS through prospective studies may help in developing effective management strategies and may improve treatment outcomes in patients with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-94
Number of pages7
JournalEvidence-Based Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 27 2021


  • adult psychiatry
  • depression & mood disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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