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Depression not discussed during rheumatoid arthritis doctor visits
Date:2/1/2008

so affect a patients adherence to treatment regimens. For these reasons the authors suggest that it is important for rheumatologists to consider addressing both the RA and the depression when they see their patients. The authors note that some physicians may not feel comfortable discussing depression with their patients, but they should consider having their office staff administer a brief depression screening before the patients visits in order to identify problems early on.

In addition to screening for depression, the authors suggest it is important for patients to have access to appropriate treatment. Rheumatologists can treat the depression themselves, refer patients to a mental health professional, or communicate with the patients primary care physician to coordinate a treatment plan. Also, given how common depression is in these patients, rheumatology training programs should educate physicians about the importance of screening for and treating depression.

Failure to detect and treat depression may compromise patients adherence to regimens and, ultimately, their health outcomes, the authors conclude. Future research should examine patient- and physician-reported barriers to communicating about depression in rheumatology practices and use these findings to design innovative interventions that can be delivered effectively in busy rheumatologist practices.


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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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