Psychiatric disorders in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: association of anxiety disorder with shorter disease duration

Tomasz Hawro, Maria Krupińska-Kun, Jolanta Rabe-Jabłońska, Anna Sysa-Jędrzejowska, Ewa Robak, Jarosław Bogaczewicz, Anna Woźniacka
Rheumatology International 2011, 31 (10): 1387-91
Physicians' awareness about neuropsychiatric syndromes in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is not rarely limited to seizures and psychoses included in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification. Involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) with its rich symptomatology still belongs to the faintly recognised and understood aspects of lupus. The objective was to investigate prevalence and clinical correlations of psychiatric disorders in SLE patients. Fifty-two SLE patients were included. Disease duration and current and cumulative corticosteroid doses were calculated. Disease activity was assessed with the Systemic Lupus Activity Measure (SLAM). All subjects were examined by a psychiatrist. Psychiatric disorders were classified according to ACR criteria for neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE). Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Clock Drawing Test (CDT) were used to screen for cognitive impairments. Mental disorders were diagnosed in 16 (30.77%), depressive disorder in 6 (11.54%), cognitive dysfunction in 5 (9.62%), anxiety disorder in 4 (7.69%) and psychosis in one patient (1.92%). SLE duration was shorter in patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder (P < 0.05), and cumulative dose of corticosteroids was lower in patients with anxiety disorder (P < 0.01). There was high positive correlation between SLE duration and cumulative dose of corticosteroids (r = 0.684, P < 0.001). Shorter SLE duration in patients with anxiety disorder seems to reflect its adaptative nature.

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