Mood Disorder Is A Frequent Event in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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The second most common experience of patients with newly onset systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) was found to be mood disorders, with roughly one third of the occurrences related to the disease. The finding came from a recent study led by John Hanly and presented during the European League Against Rheumatism Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2015), in Rome.

The study involved 1,827 patients with recent onset systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who were recruited from 32 centers in 11 countries. Patients were evaluated at baseline and at follow-ups for up to 14 years (the average duration of the follow-up was of 4.73 years). Researchers recorded disease activity, the type of treatments patients received, clinical symptomatology, and the damage index.

To assess nervous system events such as mood disorder depressive features, major depressive-like episodes, mood disorder with mixed features, and mood disorder with manic features, the researchers used the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) case definitions of 19 neuropsychological syndromes.

At baseline, all patients were assessed for lupus anticoagulant, ribosomal P, beta-2-glycoprotein I, immunoglobulin G autoantibodies to cardiolipin and NDMA glutamate receptor 2. Multivariate Cox Regression analysis was used to test the associations between the clinical variables and the relationship between SLE and mood disorders.

Results revealed that 232 patients experienced 256 mood disorders. Of these, 98 could be attributed to SLE. Major depressive-like episodes were the most frequent events followed by mood disorder with depressive features. According to the team, of the 256 registered occurrences, eight were attributable to other disorders.

At 10 years of follow-up, data revealed that the estimated incidences of having experienced any mood disorders attributable to SLE or any type of mood disorder were of 7.9 percent and 17.7 percent, respectively.

Importantly, an increased risk for experiencing a mood disorder was observed in those SLE patients who had already suffered with other neuropsychological symptoms. Curiously, patients from an Asian background were found to be at lower risk for mood disorders.