October 2, 2023

Front Neurol. 2023 Jul 19;14:1228377. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2023.1228377. eCollection 2023.


OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to examine the association between post-concussive comorbidity burdens [post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and/or headache] and central nervous system (CNS) polypharmacy (five or more concurrent medications) with reported neurobehavioral symptoms and symptom validity screening among post-9/11 veterans with a history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

SETTING: Administrative medical record data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were used in the study.

PARTICIPANTS: Post-9/11 veterans with mTBI and at least 2 years of VA care between 2001 and 2019 who had completed the comprehensive traumatic brain injury evaluation (CTBIE) were included in the study.

DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional design was used in the study.

MAIN MEASURES: Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI), International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, and Clinical Modification diagnosis codes were included in the study.

RESULTS: Of the 92,495 veterans with a history of TBI, 90% had diagnoses of at least one identified comorbidity (PTSD, depression, and/or headache) and 28% had evidence of CNS polypharmacy. Neurobehavioral symptom reporting and symptom validity failure was associated with comorbidity burden and polypharmacy after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. Veterans with concurrent diagnoses of PTSD, depression, and headache were more than six times more likely [Adjusted odds ratio = 6.55 (99% CI: 5.41, 7.92)]. to fail the embedded symptom validity measure (Validity-10) in the NSI.

CONCLUSION: TBI-related multimorbidity and CNS polypharmacy had the strongest association with neurobehavioral symptom distress, even after accounting for injury and sociodemographic characteristics. Given the regular use of the NSI in clinical and research settings, these findings emphasize the need for comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation for individuals who screen positively for potential symptom overreporting, the importance of multidisciplinary rehabilitation to restore functioning following mTBI, and the conscientious utilization of symptom validity measures in research efforts.

PMID:37538260 | PMC:PMC10395329 | DOI:10.3389/fneur.2023.1228377