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Geale K, Henriksson M, Jokinen J, Schmitt-Egenolf M. Association of Skin Psoriasis and Somatic Comorbidity With the Development of Psychiatric Illness in a Nationwide Swedish Study. JAMA Dermatol. 2020;156(7):795–804. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.1398
How are skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity associated with the development of psychiatric illness?
Among 93 239 patients with skin psoriasis and 1 387 495 control participants in this matched case-control study, skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity were independently associated with 1.32 and 2.09 times increased risk, respectively, of psychiatric illness onset compared with control participants without psoriasis and without somatic comorbidity. Skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity acted additively but not synergistically.
Proactive, holistic treatment of patients with psoriasis is recommended because treating skin symptoms alone cannot remedy the elevated risk for psychiatric comorbidity.
Psoriasis is a complex systemic disease with skin involvement, somatic comorbidity, and psychiatric illness (PI). Although this view of psoriasis is widely accepted, potential synergies within this triad of symptoms have not been adequately investigated.
To investigate the independent association of skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity with the development of PI and to assess whether skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity act synergistically to produce a risk of PI that is greater than the additive associations.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Participants were enrolled between January 2005 and December 2010, in this retrospective matched case-control study using secondary (ie, administrative), population-based registry data from Swedish patients in routine clinical care. The dates of analysis were March 2017 to December 2019. Participants were patients with skin psoriasis and control participants without psoriasis matched on age, sex, and municipality, who were all free of preexisting PI.
Presence of skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity (captured through the Charlson Comorbidity Index and the Elixhauser Comorbidity Index).
Main Outcomes and Measures
Risk of PI onset (composite of depression, anxiety, and suicidality) is shown using Kaplan-Meier curves stratified by the presence of skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity. Adjusted associations of skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity with the development of PI were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression models, including interactions to assess synergistic associations. The 3 components of PI were also assessed individually.
A total of 93 239 patients with skin psoriasis (mean [SD] age, 54  years; 47 475 men [51%]) and 1 387 495 control participants (mean [SD] age, 54  years; 702 332 men [51%]) were included in the study. As expected, patients with skin psoriasis were more likely to have somatic comorbidity and PI than control participants. Compared with those without skin psoriasis or somatic comorbidity, patients with psoriasis without somatic comorbidity had a 1.32 times higher risk of PI onset (hazard ratio [HR], 1.32; 95% CI, 1.27-1.36; P < .001), whereas patients with psoriasis with somatic comorbidity had a 2.56 times higher risk of PI onset (HR, 2.56; 95% CI, 2.46-2.66; P < .001). No synergistic associations of skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity with the development of PI were found (HR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.81-1.04; P = .21).
Conclusions and Relevance
This study found that somatic comorbidity appeared to alter PI onset even more than skin psoriasis. The observed association of skin psoriasis and somatic comorbidity with the development of PI reinforces the need for proactive, holistic treatment of patients with psoriasis.
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