Background: Depressive symptoms affect anywhere from 11% to 71% of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which may be related to SLE disease activity, other clinical variables, or sociodemographic factors.
Objective: We aimed to measure the rate of depressive symptoms in our cohort of patients with SLE and to identify modifiable factors associated with depressive symptoms.
Methods: Patients in our university-based SLE registry completed the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), pain scores, and demographic information. Disease activity was measured using the physician's global assessment (PGA) and Selena-SLE disease activity index (Selena-systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index (SLEDAI)). Patients were identified as having moderate or severe depressive symptoms (BDI-II ≥ 18) or not (BDI-II < 18). Nonparametric tests and χ(2) tests were used as appropriate to compare variables between groups.
Results: Fifty-three of 127 people (41.7%) were identified as having moderate or severe depressive symptoms, which were associated with higher pain levels and lower self-reported of current health status. Patients with moderate or severe depressive symptoms were more likely (49%) than those with no or mild depressive symptoms (18%) to have lupus arthritis (P < 0.01). Of the 53 patients with moderate or severe depressive symptoms, only 26 (49.0%) were prescribed antidepressants, and only 8/53 patients (15.0%) were prescribed the maximum dose of antidepressant.
Conclusions: This study identified moderate or severe depressive symptoms in 41.7% of our cohort of patients with SLE. The most significant variable associated with these symptoms was pain; improved treatment of pain, and in particular from lupus arthritis, may result in alleviation of depressive symptoms in patients with SLE.
Copyright © 2013 The Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.