To examine the effect of depressive symptoms on health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in Venezuelan patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
HR-QoL was assessed in a cross-sectional, single-center study of 212 consecutive Venezuelan patients with RA (1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria) using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF-36), which includes a Physical Composite Scale (PCS) and a Mental Composite Scale (MCS); depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Covariates included socio-demographics, comorbidities, disease characteristics, body mass index, and disability. Unadjusted and multivariable linear regression analysis were used to determine the effect of depressive symptoms on HR-QoL.
Mean age was 50.2 years and 89.6% were female. Twenty-five percent of patients had depressive symptoms. In the multivariable regression analysis, the presence of depressive symptoms changed the mental SF-36 scores by − 4.81 (p = 0.0052) and the physical SF-36 scores by − 3.33 (p = 0.0527). Other factors significantly associated with scores on the PCS of the SF-36 were functional class, disability and job loss due to RA.
The presence of depressive symptoms negatively affected the HR-QoL in our patients, with a predominant effect on the MCS of the SF-36. The PCS of the SF-36 was mainly affected by those symptoms related to the functional impairment and inflammatory activity of the disease. The routine assessment and early treatment of depressive symptoms, targeting mental and mood manifestations, may improve the HR-QoL and thus contribute to healthier outcomes in Venezuelan RA patients.