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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Atopic Eczema in Adulthood and Risk of Depression and Anxiety: A Population-Based Cohort Study.

  • Author(s): Schonmann, Yochai
  • Mansfield, Kathryn E
  • Hayes, Joseph F
  • Abuabara, Katrina
  • Roberts, Amanda
  • Smeeth, Liam
  • Langan, Sinéad M
  • et al.

BACKGROUND:Atopic eczema is a common and debilitating condition associated with depression and anxiety, but the nature of this association remains unclear. OBJECTIVE:To explore the temporal relationship between atopic eczema and new depression/anxiety. METHODS:This matched cohort study used routinely collected data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, linked to hospital admissions data. We identified adults with atopic eczema (1998-2016) using a validated algorithm, and up to 5 individuals without atopic eczema matched on date of diagnosis, age, sex, and general practice. We estimated the hazard ratio (HR) for new depression/anxiety using stratified Cox regression to account for age, sex, calendar period, Index of Multiple Deprivation, glucocorticoid treatment, obesity, smoking, and harmful alcohol use. RESULTS:We identified 526,808 adults with atopic eczema who were matched to 2,569,030 without. Atopic eczema was associated with increased incidence of new depression (HR, 1.14; 99% CI, 1.12-1.16) and anxiety (HR, 1.17; 99% CI, 1.14-1.19). We observed a stronger effect of atopic eczema on depression with increasing atopic eczema severity (HR [99% CI] compared with no atopic eczema: mild, 1.10 [1.08-1.13]; moderate, 1.19 [1.15-1.23]; and severe, 1.26 [1.17-1.37]). A dose-response association, however, was less apparent for new anxiety diagnosis (HR [99% CI] compared with no atopic eczema: mild, 1.14 [1.11-1.18]; moderate, 1.21 [1.17-1.26]; and severe, 1.15; [1.05-1.25]). CONCLUSIONS:Adults with atopic eczema are more likely to develop new depression and anxiety. For depression, we observed a dose-response relationship with atopic eczema severity.

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