Adult Atopic Dermatitis Linked to Anxiety and Depression, Often Undiagnosed Interview with:

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Jonathan Silverberg

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH
Assistant Professor in Dermatology
Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine
northwesternu, Chicago, Illinois What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Atopic Dermatitis is characterized by chronic and often severe and debilitating itch, skin pain, sleep disturbances, skin lesions and multiple comorbid health conditions. The signs, symptoms and comorbidities of atopic dermatitis can lead to significant psychosocial distress and mental health burden

We performed a cross-sectional, population-based study of 2893 US adults. We found that adults with atopic dermatitis had more severe symptoms scores for anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression anxiety). Adults with atopic dermatitis also had higher prevalences of anxiety and depression. Mean symptom scores and prevalences of anxiety and depression were even higher in adults with moderate and severe atopic dermatitis compared to those with mild atopic dermatitis. All respondents with severe PO-SCORAD, POEM and PO-SCORAD-itch scores had elevated anxiety and depression scores.

Many adults with atopic dermatitis that had elevated anxiety and depression scores reported no diagnosis of anxiety or depression. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Atopic dermatitis is associated with high rates of anxiety and depression, which goes undiagnosed in many. Anxiety and depression are symptoms of atopic dermatitis and can be improved with adequate treatment of the atopic dermatitis. Dermatologists and other clinicians that care for atopic dermatitis should screen for anxiety and depression in their atopic dermatitis patients, especially those with moderate or severe disease. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future studies are needed to determine the ideal approaches to screen for and treat symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults with atopic dermatitis.

Disclosures: Dr. Silverberg served as a consultant and/or advisory board member for Abbvie, Asana, Eli Lilly, Galderma, GlaxoSmithKline, Glenmark, Kiniksa, Leo, Menlo, Pfizer, Regeneron-Sanofi, Realm, Roivant receiving honoraria; speaker for Regeneron-Sanofi; and received research grants from GlaxoSmithKline and Regeneron-Sanofi.  


Silverberg, J. , Gelfand, J. , Margolis, D. , Boguniewicz, M. , Fonacier, L. , Grayson, M. , Ong, P. , Chiesa Fuxench, Z. and Simpson, E. (2019), Symptoms and diagnosis of anxiety and depression in atopic dermatitis in U.S. adults. Br J Dermatol. doi:10.1111/bjd.17683


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