Healthy Living

What Depression Does to Flare Ups in a RA Patient

Identifying the triggers

Research from the Department of Inflammation Biology, School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences has revealed that there is an increased risk of flare ups in RA patients who suffer from depression. Flare ups in RA are defined as acute episodes of pain and inflammation in a patient’s joints. They can be both debilitating and unpredictable.

Currently, the most effective treatment options for RA are biologics, such as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors. These drugs work by targeting the immune system and reducing symptoms, such as swelling and inflammation. They do, however, carry some disadvantages, including a risk of infections.

Dr. Katie Bechman and her fellow colleagues sought to analyze whether triggers of flare ups in RA patients with stable disease (symptom free with low disease activity) can be reduced by tapering their RA treatment. They aimed to determine whether there was a link between a patient’s mental health and the likelihood of flare ups by slowly reducing the dose of tumor necrosis factor inhibitors