Objective: This study assessed the prevalence and associations of fatigue in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: Questionnaires were used to measure self-reported fatigue, disease activity, sleep quality, quality of life, anxiety and depression in 120 out-patients with SLE.
Results: Abnormal fatigue was reported by 97 (81%) patients, and 71 (60%) patients reported poor sleep quality. Fatigue correlated negatively with all measures of functioning. Fatigue scores were up to 33% higher in patients with active disease [Systemic Lupus Activity Measure (SLAM >/=3)] than in patients with inactive disease (SLAM >3) (P: < 0.05). There were significant correlations between fatigue and disease activity, sleep quality, anxiety and depression.
Conclusion: Fatigue is a common complaint of patients with SLE and is associated with diminished ability to function. Apart from treating the primary disease, it may also be worthwhile to treat mood disorders and insomnia in order to reduce fatigue and improve quality of life.