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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2003 Nov;74(11):1587-9.

Prevalence and impact of depression and pain in neurology outpatients.

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  • 1Departments of Neurology, Indiana University, Indianapolis 46202, USA.



We examined the prevalence and health related quality of life (HRQoL) of depression and/or pain in neurology outpatients.


Patients at outpatient clinics completed depression, pain, and HRQoL scales. Group comparisons between those with pain alone, depression alone, both conditions, and neither condition were done.


Overall, pain was present in 2/3 and depression in 1/3 of patients. Pain with depression was present in 25%; 75% of depressed patients had pain. These conditions had significant negative impact on mental and physical health status scores. The odds ratio (OR) for having pain was significantly increased in women (OR 2.0), those with depression (OR 2.4), and those with neuropathy/neuromuscular (OR 3.8) or pain syndromes (OR 4.8). The odds of having depression were increased in those with pain (OR 2.4) and with cognitive (OR 4.8) or cerebrovascular (OR 3.3) diagnoses. Neurologists were more likely to recognise and treat pain than depression.


Depression and pain are common in newly referred neurology outpatients and have substantial negative effects on patients' physical and mental health. Pain is more likely than depression to be recognised and treated by neurologists.

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