Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Face Heightened Risk of Depression, Study Finds

Recently published data shows that rheumatoid arthritis patients have a heightened risk for developing depression. This study is the first to investigate the link between rheumatoid arthritis and the risk of developing depression.

The researchers’ objective was to examine the effect of anticyclic citrullinated peptide and rheumatoid factor antibodies on depression in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and find data on the effect of DMARD prescriptions on rheumatoid arthritis-associated depression. These antibodies serve as markers of illness severity and offer insights into the risk of comorbidity.

On the other hand, DMARD prescriptions are often given with other drugs such as NSAIDs or corticosteroids for rapid relief of pain and inflammation.

For their study, the researchers carried out a retrospective cohort study of countrywide, population-based data obtained from the National Health Insurance Service in South Korea. The cohort included more than 38,000 patients who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 2010–2017 as well as 193,435 individuals in the control group, who were matched based on index date, sex and age.

The researchers determined seropositive rheumatoid arthritis using ICD-10 codes and enrollment in a program that required anticyclic citrullinated peptide and rheumatoid factor positivity and seronegative rheumatoid arthritis using DMARD prescriptions and ICD-10 codes. The researchers observed that this risk reduced among patients who used targeted synthetic or biologic illness-modifying antirheumatic drugs to manage their arthritis.

Once this was done, the scientists calculated hazard ratios using Cox regression analysis and adjusted for behavioral and sociodemographic factors as well as comorbidities. During the follow up, the researchers found that rheumatoid arthritis patients showed a considerably higher risk for depression in comparison to the controls. This finding remained unchanged across both seronegative and seropositive groups.

Additionally, the researchers observed that arthritis patients who used targeted synthetic or biologic DMARDs showed a lower risk of depression in comparison to those who did not.

In their report, the researchers stated that the presence of comorbid depression in rheumatoid arthritis patients had been linked to heightened disease activity, pain exacerbation, less frequent remission, poor health-related quality of life, heightened risk of myocardial infarction, greater utilization of health care services and higher rates of mortality. They also noted that preventing and/or managing depression could be an effective approach to improving the overall quality of life and health of these patients.

They are now focused on better understanding the underlying mechanisms behind their findings.

The researchers involved in the study include Keun Hye Jeon, Kyungdo Han, Hyungjin Kim, Yeonghee Eun, Chun Il Park, Jinhyoung Jung and Dong Wook Shin.

Their findings were reported in the “JAMA Network Open.

As more companies such as SOHM Inc. (OTC: SHMN) focus on developing and commercializing treatments for different forms of arthritis, the relief that patients experience from their pain could possibly contribute to reductions in the prevalence of depression within this patient population.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to SOHM Inc. (OTC: SHMN) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/SHMN

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