Caregivers for Patients with Multiple Myeloma May Face Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD

Many caregivers of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) show clinically significant anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms compared to patients with MM, according to a study published online in Blood Advances.

The study conducted by Dr. O’Donnell and colleagues involved 127 caregivers of patients newly diagnosed with MM. The caregivers were enrolled in 1 of 3 cohorts based on lines of therapy. 43 were caregivers of newly diagnosed patients, 40 caregivers of patients receiving two to three lines of therapy, and 44 caregivers of patients receiving four or more lines of therapy. The caregivers completed validated questionnaires to assess their quality of life (QOL), psychological distress, and perceptions of prognosis.

According to the study, clinically significant levels of anxiety (44.1%), depression (15.8%), and post-traumatic stress disorder (24.4%) were observed in caregivers of patients with MM. The researchers also observed higher rates of clinically significant anxiety in caregivers (44%)  compared to patients with MM (22.5%).  However, less clinically significant depression symptoms were observed in caregivers (15.3%) compared to (24.2%) found in patients with MM. |They also found similar rates of PTSD symptoms between caregivers (24.2%) and patients with MM (25.0%). 

“Caregivers of patients undergoing treatment for MM experience substantial psychological distress across the disease continuum, particularly anxiety. Supportive care interventions are needed to improve caregivers’ QOL and to reduce their psychological distress”. The authors wrote.

Eighty-four percent of the caregivers reported that the oncologist had informed them that the patient’s cancer was incurable. 50.9% of these caregivers acknowledged the patient’s cancer was terminal, and 53.6% acknowledged the cancer was incurable. 

According to the authors, “Future research should focus on the delivery of adequate psychosocial support throughout the disease course and on the optimal delivery of prognostic information.”

 

Source: Science Direct