open access publication

Article, 2023

Increased risk of depression after Guillain-Barre syndrome

In: MUSCLE & NERVE, ISSN 0148-639X, 0148-639X, Volume 67, 6, Pages 497-505, 10.1002/mus.27816

Contributors (3)

Levison, Lotte (0000-0002-2210-6020) (Corresponding author) [1] Thomsen, R. W. (0000-0001-9135-3474) [1] Andersen, Henning (0000-0002-9082-2694) [1]


  1. [1] Aarhus Univ Hosp, Dept Clin Epidemiol, Dept Clin Med, Aarhus, Denmark
  2. [NORA names: AU Aarhus University; University; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD]


Introduction/AimsGuillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is a potentially life-threatening disorder, and some patients may develop subsequent depression related to traumatic stress or permanent loss of motor function. We determined the short-term (0 to 2 years) and long-term (>2 years) risk of depression after GBS. MethodsIndividual-level data from nationwide registries were linked in this population-based cohort study of all first-time hospital-diagnosed GBS patients in Denmark between 2005 and 2016 and individuals from the general population. After exclusion of individuals with previous depression, we computed cumulative rates of depression, defined as either antidepressant drug prescription or depression hospital diagnosis. We used Cox regression analyses to calculate adjusted depression hazard ratios (HRs) after GBS. ResultsWe identified 853 incident GBS patients and recruited 8639 individuals from the general population. Depression within 2 years was observed in 21.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 18.2% to 25.0%) of GBS patients and in 3.3% (95% CI, 2.9% to 3.7%) of those in the general population, resulting in a HR of 7.6 (95% CI, 6.2 to 9.3). The highest depression HR was observed within the first 3 months after GBS (HR, 20.5; 95% CI, 13.6 to 30.9). After the first 2 years, GBS patients and the general population members had similar long-term depression risks with an HR of 0.8 (95% CI, 0.6 to 1.2). DiscussionDuring the first 2 years after GBS hospital admission, patients with GBS had a 7.6-fold increased hazard of depression compared with individuals in the general population. Two years after GBS, the risk of depression was similar to that of the background population.


AIDP, Guillain-Barre syndrome, depression, epidemiology, prognosis