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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Sep;48(9):1152-4. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kep170. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

Depression in RA patients treated with anti-TNF is common and under-recognized in the rheumatology clinic.

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  • 1Staffordshire Rheumatology Centre, University Hospitals of North Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent, UK. s.hider@cphc.keele.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Depression is common in RA and may be influenced by both disease activity and severity. The aims of this study were to investigate the prevalence of depression in RA patients starting anti-TNF therapy, to investigate how mood alters after exposure to anti-TNF and to determine whether depression is recognized and appropriately managed in the clinic.

METHODS:

Patients starting anti-TNF therapy were assessed for depression using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D), and classified as depressed with an HADS-D of > or =8. Change in mood was assessed at 6 weeks, 4 months and 12 months. Disease activity data were recorded at baseline, 3 and 12 months. Patients who remained persistently depressed at 4 months had their clinical case notes reviewed to determine whether their low mood had been recognized or treated.

RESULTS:

Depression was common in this cohort. Depressed patients had higher disease activity scores (DAS28) at all time points, and patients with persistent depression had smaller reductions in DAS28 [median (interquartile range or IQR) change DAS28 1.71 (0-2.6) vs 2.2 (1.5-3.2); P = 0.005]. Only 57% (13/23) patients with persistent depression at 4 months had their depression recognized or managed within the rheumatology clinic.

CONCLUSIONS:

Depression is common but under-recognized in RA patients starting on anti-TNF therapy. Patients with persistent depression tended to respond less well to anti-TNF, with smaller reductions in DAS28. Given that a significant reduction in DAS28 is a requirement for continuing therapy, recognition and appropriate management of depression may improve TNF effectiveness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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