Drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis may impact mental health by improving pain and stiffness and by targeting inflammatory processes common to arthritis and depression; however, a recent review of published studies demonstrates that relying on rheumatoid arthritis therapies alone may not meaningfully improve patients' mental health.
The findings, which are published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, indicate that providing dedicated mental health care is essential to help arthritis patients with depression and other mental conditions.
"This review summarises the findings from over 70 clinical trials to examine the association between different rheumatoid arthritis treatments and mental health outcomes," said lead author Dr. Faith Matcham, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London.
"Our findings suggest that otherwise effective pharmacotherapy alone is unlikely to have an impact on mental health outcomes for the majority of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Optimal mental health outcomes may be achieved through providing integrated psychological support alongside routine care."