Atopic dermatitis: should all patients be screened for depression?


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new study has identified dramatically higher rates of anxiety and depression among adults with atopic dermatitis (AD) than the general population, with its authors recommending that assessment of mental health symptoms in AD patients is incorporated into clinical practice. 

The cross-sectional study included 2,893 adults, of which 602 participants met AD criteria and 2,291 controls were without AD. Mental health was assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale Anxiety (HADS-A) and Depression (HADS-D) scores. 

AD was associated with significantly higher mean HADS-A and HADS-D scores and higher odds of abnormal HADS-A and HADS-D scores (P≤.03 for all). All the respondents with severe Patient-Oriented Scoring AD (PO-SCORAD), Patient-Oriented Eczema Measure and PO-SCORAD itch had borderline or abnormal HADS-A and HADS-D scores. 

Individuals with AD were also more likely to have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression in the past year, but many adults with AD who had borderline and/or abnormal HADS-A or HADS-D scores had no diagnosis of anxiety or depression. 

Presenting the findings in the British Journal of Dermatology, the authors said the “mental health burden of AD should be an important consideration in disease awareness, prioritising appropriate resource allocation and clinical decision making."