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Anxiety and depression in adults with primary immunodeficiency: How much do these patients experience and how much do they attribute to their primary immunodeficiency?

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Primary immunodeficiency (PID) is a rare group of disorders that manifest similarly with infection, neoplasms, allergic, and autoimmune diseases, and are treated with injectable medications. Often the burden of disease and cost of management is excessive, and premature death is not uncommon. In light of these features of PID, it was our objective to survey our cohort to assess for factors that can influence depression and anxiety.


We used an investigator-developed survey, in addition to the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, after institutional review board approval of our pilot study, to determine the extent of anxiety and depression that our patients with PID experienced and variables that may have affected the difference of expression. The differences among groups were tested by using Wilcoxon rank sum tests, Kruskal-Wallis tests, and chi-square tests.


The patients with PID had similar depression compared with the U.S. population, as assessed by the HAM-D scale. Risk factors associated with elevated HAM-D scores included the following: not driving, intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (versus subcutaneous), nurse-administered therapy (versus self-administered), having unpleasant adverse effects from therapy, previously attempted suicide, and family members with reported anxiety and/or depression. Anxiety was not significantly increased in our cohort. Risk factors for significantly elevated Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale scores included the following: having poor health, an unhealthy diet, lack of refreshing sleep, and family members with reported anxiety and/or depression.


Many factors influence depression and anxiety, and may add to the morbidity of PID. Patients should be assessed for our identified factors for depression and anxiety. Treatment or referrals should be initiated as it is hoped to improve our patients' quality of life and outcomes.
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Keywords: Anxiety; PID; depression; i.v. immunoglobulin; immunodeficiency; nursing care; primary immunodeficiency; subcutaneous immunoglobulin; therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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