Objective: To compare pain, fatigue, and sicca symptoms; quality of life; and psychological status between patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS) and those with sicca symptoms but no autoimmune features (sicca asthenia polyalgia syndrome [SAPS]), and to determine whether a psychological pattern can be detected in patients with SAPS, which could suggest psychological distress as the cause.
Methods: This cross-sectional, prospective study included 111 patients with primary SS according to the American-European Consensus Group criteria and 65 SAPS patients with no focus on lip biopsy and no anti-SSA/SSB antibodies. Pain, fatigue, and sicca symptoms were assessed using visual analog scales; quality of life was assessed using the Short Form 36 (SF-36); and psychological distress by the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) questionnaire.
Results: No difference was observed between primary SS and SAPS patients for pain, fatigue, sicca symptoms, quality of life, and psychological status. Fatigue and pain, but not dryness, were correlated with both quality of life and psychological distress in both groups. For primary SS patients, physical and mental composite scores on the SF-36 correlated well with global severity index (GSI) scores of the SCL-90-R (r = -0.29, P = 0.006 and r = -0.61, P < 0.0001, respectively).
Conclusion: Patients with primary SS and SAPS do not differ in quality of life or psychological status. Although both diseases probably have a different origin, they may require the same psychological support or psychiatric care. The strong correlation between the composite physical and mental scores of the SF-36 and the GSI scores of the SCL-90-R in primary SS patients emphasizes the importance of the psychological dimension in results of the SF-36.