, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 1179-1187
Date: 21 Jan 2011

Prevalence of depression and depressive symptoms in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: Iranian experience

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Psychiatric disorders including depression represent clinical manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Recognition of depression in SLE patients is of utmost importance since it is treatable and can be of fatal consequences if unrecognized. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of depression and depressive symptoms in SLE patients in terms of age, gender, disease duration and severity, and duration of steroid treatment in SLE patients. Eighty-five SLE patients (77 women, 8 men) with verified SLE diagnosis completed Beck’s depression inventory, a self-reported measure of depression. Clinical data on disease and treatment were obtained from patient files. In total, 60% of patients achieved scores indicating depression. The most common depressive symptoms in participants were fatigue and weakness (88.2%), irritability (82.3%), sadness (77.6%), and somatic preoccupation (76.4%), while the least common symptoms were weight loss (34.1%), low level of energy (28.2%), and suicide ideation (10.5%). There was a significant difference between the disease activity and the severity of depression (P = 0.0001). Our findings show higher prevalence of depression in our sample in comparison with previous studies, suggesting that the prevalence of depression varies across different populations. Severity of depression increases with more severe disease course.