COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Disclosures: McIntyre reports numerous relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for his and all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
August 05, 2021
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Mood disorders should be considered preexisting condition for increased COVID-19 risks

Disclosures: McIntyre reports numerous relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for his and all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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People with preexisting mood disorders had increased risk for COVID-19 hospitalization and death, according to results of a systematic review and meta-analysis published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Thus, they should be categorized as an at-risk group on the basis of a preexisting condition, researchers suggested.

infographic with McIntyre quote about individuals with mental disorders needing to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine

“Since the start of the pandemic, we've become aware that preexisting chronic diseases can increase the risk for infection from COVID-19 and complications due to the virus, but there has been less research on whether mental disorders put individuals at increased risk for being infected and/or having complications from the pandemic,” Roger S. McIntyre, MD, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Toronto, told Healio Psychiatry. “Our research contributes to our knowledge by identifying that history of a mood disorder is putting a person at greater risk for being in hospital because of the pandemic and dying because of the pandemic.”

McIntyre and colleagues sought to determine the role of preexisting mood disorder in risk for COVID-19 susceptibility, hospitalization, severe complications and death. They systematically searched several databases from database inception to Feb. 1 for studies that reported data on COVID-19 outcomes among populations with and without mood disorders. They included 21 primary research articles involving more than 91 million individuals that featured quantitative COVID-19 outcome data from people with mood disorders compared with people without mood disorders of any age, sex and nationality.

People with preexisting mood disorders had significantly increased risk for COVID-19 hospitalization (OR = 1.31; 95% CI, 1.12-1.53; n = 26,554,397) and death (OR = 1.51; 95% CI, 1.34-1.69; n = 25,808,660) compared with people without mood disorders. McIntyre and colleagues found no association between mood disorders and COVID-19 susceptibility (OR = 1.27; 95% CI, 0.73-2.19; n = 65,514,469) or severe events (OR = 0.94; 95% CI, 0.87 1.03; n = 83,240). They noted the presence of publication bias according to visual inspection of the composite funnel plot for asymmetry; however, the Egger regression intercept test result was not statistically significant.

“Individuals who have chronic mental disorders like depression need to be prioritized and provided with education around the importance of receiving the vaccine for their protection as this is an important pre-existing condition putting them at greater risk from COVID-19,” McIntyre said.