Validated Self-Screening Tests Identify Anxiety in Rheumatic Disease

Levels of depression and anxiety varied by disease. Special attention should be paid to patients with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

WASHINGTON, DC — Researchers have found that anxiety and depression are prevalent in multiple rheumatic diseases, and that self-applied screening tests can help properly detect them in patients. The findings were presented at the 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, November 11-16, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Researchers recruited 410 patients (339 women (82.8%)) who attended an outpatient Rheumatology clinic at the Instituto Nacional de Cardiologia Ignacio Chavez in Mexico City from March to June 2016. The participants filled out the Patient Help Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) to measure depression and the General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) to assess anxiety.

The researchers found that 191 patients (46.6%) reported depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 >5), and of those, 87 (21.2%) had moderate depression or worse (PHQ-9>10). Of 168 patients (40.7%) who reported symptoms of anxiety, 67 (16.2%) had moderate to severe anxiety.

“We demonstrated that the use of a self-applied screening tool can help clinicians to properly detect depression and anxiety associated with diverse rheumatic diseases,” wrote Luis F. Perez-Garcia, MD, from the Instituto Nacional de Cardiologia Ignacio Chavez and colleagues. “Special attention should be paid to patients with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.”

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Perez-Garcia LF, Rivera V, Moreno Ramirez M, et al. Screening for depression and anxiety in an outpatient rheumatology clinic using validated self-applied questionnaires. Presented at: 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting. November 11-16, 2016; Washington, DC. Abstract #1173.

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