Depression in African-American patients with kidney disease.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the National Medical Association




8 Suppl


There are few data on the epidemiology, consequences and treatment of depression in African-American patients with kidney disease in the US, even though such patients disproportionately bear the burden of this illness. This paper reviews data on the diagnosis and pathogenesis of depression and its consequences in patients with and without kidney disease, in addition to work on the epidemiology of depression in the African-American population and in the US End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program. African Americans are thought to have similar susceptibility to the development of depression as other populations in the US, but diminished access to care for this group of patients may be associated with differential outcomes. Data are presented from longitudinal studies of psychosocial outcomes in a population comprising primarily African-American patients with ESRD, and is reviewed the treatment of depression in patients with and without kidney disease. There are few studies of the management of depression that focus on minority populations. The authors agree with recommendations that treatment trials should include minority patients, patients with medical comorbidities, and the elderly, and assess function and quality of life as outcomes. The relationships between age, marital status and satisfaction, ethnicity, and perception of quality of life and depressive affect level and diagnosis of depression, and medical outcomes have not been determined in ESRD patients, or in African-American patients with ESRD. There are few studies of drugs for the treatment of depression in ESRD patients, and only one small randomized controlled trial. These have shown that therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors appears to be a safe treatment option for patients with ESRD. The long-term effectiveness of therapy, and its association with clinically important outcomes such as perception of quality of life, compliance, and survival have not been evaluated in ESRD patients. Also, therapeutic effectiveness and outcomes have not been assessed in minority populations with ESRD. These issues need to be addressed to optimize the management of depression in African Americans with kidney disease.

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