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63 percent of RA patients suffer psychiatric disorders, with depressive spectrum conditions most likely
Date:6/12/2009

Copenhagen, Denmark, Friday 12 June 2009: Over half (63%) of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) also suffer from psychiatric disorders, with the majority of these (87%) occurring in the depressive spectrum, according to the results of a new study presented today at EULAR 2009, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark. Interestingly, over half (52%) of the patients studied indicated that they had experienced stress events before the onset of their RA.

The study also revealed a number of other interesting findings about the emotional burden of RA:

  • Cognitive dysfunction was diagnosed in 23% of patients, with 16% of this attributed to depression
  • A third (33%) suffered from sleep disorders
  • Those with depression also exhibited more severe RA (measured by X-ray), greater functional insufficiency and pain, as well as having received less aggressive treatment than patients without depression. (No significant differences in age, duration of illness, gender or DAS28* scores were noted between the two groups)
  • Significantly, cognitive impairments were found more often (p=0.02) in patients older than 50 years (39% vs. 9%)
  • The age of the first prednisone intake was significantly higher (p<0.05) in patients with depression compared to those without (48 vs. 30 years)

Dr Tatiana Lisitsyna from the State Institute of Rheumatology RAMS, Russian Federation, who conducted the study, said: "Psychiatric disorders are a very common comorbidity for people with RA, and they tend to be stress-related and associated with disease activity and chronic pain. Evaluating and addressing the mental health of those with RA should be a regular feature of rheumatology practice to improve quality of life and reduce the potentially distressing psychological burden of RA."

In the study, the disease activity of 75 patients with American College of Rheumatology (ACR) defined RA (96% female, median
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Contact: Rory Berrie
eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
44-789-438-6425
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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