BACKGROUND: Atopic dermatitis (AD) has been associated with anxiety and depression, but the magnitude of the alleged association is unknown.
OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between AD in children and adults and, respectively, depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior.
METHODS: The medical databases PubMed, Embase, and PsychINFO were searched.
RESULTS: There was a significant association between adult AD and, respectively, depression (pooled odds ratio [OR], 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.87-2.57) and anxiety (pooled OR, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.75-2.73). AD was also associated with depression in children (pooled OR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.12-1.45); few data were available for anxiety. A positive association was found between AD in adults and adolescents and suicidal ideation (pooled OR, 4.32; 95% CI, 1.93-9.66). Only a few studies examined the risk of completed suicide, but the majority showed a positive association between completed suicide and AD.
LIMITATIONS: Included studies used different definitions of depression and anxiety, and few studies examined the severity of AD.
CONCLUSION: Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation should be considered by doctors when treating patients with AD. Because AD disease improvement appears to reduce these risks, this should be a priority.