Objective: There is substantial uncertainty regarding the prevalence of depression in RA. We conducted a systematic review aiming to describe the prevalence of depression in RA.
Methods: Web of Science, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Embase, Medline and PubMed were searched for cross-sectional studies reporting a prevalence estimate for depression in adult RA patients. Studies were reviewed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and a meta-analysis was performed.
Results: A total of 72 studies, including 13,189 patients, were eligible for inclusion in the review. Forty-three methods of defining depression were reported. Meta-analyses revealed the prevalence of major depressive disorder to be 16.8% (95% CI 10%, 24%). According to the PHQ-9, the prevalence of depression was 38.8% (95% CI 34%, 43%), and prevalence levels according to the HADS with thresholds of 8 and 11 were 34.2% (95% CI 25%, 44%) and 14.8% (95% CI 12%, 18%), respectively. The main influence on depression prevalence was the mean age of the sample.
Conclusion: Depression is highly prevalent in RA and associated with poorer RA outcomes. This suggests that optimal care of RA patients may include the detection and management of depression.
Keywords: depression; meta-analysis; prevalence; rheumatoid arthritis; systematic review.