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Lifetime Prevalence of Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Fragile X Premutation Carriers

J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(2):175-182
10.4088/JCP.09m05407blu

Objective: The authors studied the lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV-TR psychiatric disorders in a population of adults with the fragile X premutation.

Method: The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV was conducted, from 2007–2008, in 85 individuals with the fragile X premutation, 47 with the fragile X–associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS; 33 male, 14 female; mean age = 66 years) and 38 without FXTAS (16 male, 22 female; mean age = 52 years). Lifetime prevalence for mood and anxiety disorders among carriers with and without FXTAS was compared to available age-specific population estimates from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).

Results: Among participants with FXTAS, 30 (65%) met lifetime DSM-IV-TR criteria for a mood disorder; 24 (52%) met lifetime DSM-IV-TR criteria for an anxiety disorder. Among the non-FXTAS participants, there were 15 instances of lifetime mood disorder (42%) and 18 of lifetime anxiety disorder (47%). When compared to age-specific NCS-R data, the lifetime prevalences of any mood disorder (P < .0001), major depressive disorder (P < .0001), any anxiety disorder (P < .0001), panic disorder (P = .006), specific phobia (P = .0003), and posttraumatic stress disorder (P = .004) were significantly higher in participants with FXTAS. The lifetime rates of social phobia in individuals with the premutation without FXTAS were significantly higher than NCS-R data (P = .001).

Conclusions: This sample of carriers of the fragile X premutation had a notably high lifetime risk of mood and anxiety disorders. Mood and anxiety disorders may be part of the clinical phenotype of the fragile X premutation conditions, especially in carriers with FXTAS. Clinicians encountering these patients are advised to consider FXTAS as a neuropsychiatric syndrome as well as a neurologic disorder.

J Clin Psychiatry

Submitted: June 2, 2009; accepted August 25, 2009.

Online ahead of print: August 24, 2010 (doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05407blu).

Corresponding author: James A. Bourgeois, OD, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, McMaster University, St Joseph’s Healthcare, Centre for Mountain Health Services,100 West 5th St, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3K7 Canada (bourgej@mcmaster.ca).