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27-07-2018 | Rheumatology | News | Article

News in brief

Depression linked to increased RA risk

medwireNews: Study findings suggest that major depressive disorder (MDD) could be a risk factor for the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

As reported in RMD Open, 0.54% of 403,932 patients with MDD from The Health Improvement Network database developed RA over a median follow-up of 6.7 years, compared with 0.45% of 5,339,399 individuals without MDD, translating into incidence rates of 85.4 and 52.8 per 100,000 person–years, respectively.

After adjustment for age, sex, smoking, BMI, comorbidities, and antidepressant use, patients with MDD had a significant 38% increased risk for developing RA compared with those without.

And this risk “seemed to be reduced” when MDD patients were taking antidepressants, say the study authors. In all, 0.51% of MDD patients who were treated with antidepressants developed RA, compared with 0.77% of those who were not using such medications.

“[T]hese results provide evidence that a bidirectional relationship between MDD and RA may exist, as it has previously been well established that patients with RA experience an increased risk of MDD,” write Cheryl Barnabe (University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and colleagues.

And they conclude that “prompt referral to rheumatology should be made when patients with MDD present with musculoskeletal symptoms characteristic of RA.”

By Claire Barnard

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2018 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group