Crippling Depression

Rheumatoid arthritis patients of low socioeconomic status more likely to face depression

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(RxWiki News) According to a new study there are two factors that may cause this group of people to be more likely to become depressed.

Members of the Arthritis Research Group at the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed data from 824 hospital and clinic visits of some 466 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and found that 37 percent of them had moderate to severe depression. The researchers also looked at socioeconomic status, race, income, education and healthcare access and found considerable differences in these areas between depressed RA patients and those who were not depressed.

The rate of depression among rheumatoid arthritis patients did not appear to be influenced by gender, age, disease duration, steroid use and dose or biological therapy, which led researchers to conclude patients with low socioeconomic status may be more likely to experience depression.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects and damages joints in the body caused by inflammation, which also affects other organs and systems in the body. Worldwide, about one percent of the population is afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis. There are approximately 1.3 million rheumatoid arthritis sufferers in the United States, about 75 percent of whom are women.

Depression impacts an estimated 15 million adults in the United States. Depression is a state of prolonged low mood and aversion to activity. A person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and physical well-being are affected and may include feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, irritability, or restlessness. The primary treatments for major depression are psychological counseling and medications. Medication therapies include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). SSRIs include: fluoxetine (Prozac®), paroxetine (Paxil®), sertraline (Zoloft®), citalopram (Celexa®) and escitalopram (Lexapro®). SNRIs include: duloxetine (Cymbalta®), venlafaxine (Effexor®) and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq®). Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is an NDRI. Atypical antidepressants include trazodone (Desyrel®) and mirtazapine (Remeron®). Each medication category has different side effects.

Last Updated:
August 18, 2011