The following article is part of coverage from the American Academy of Dermatology’s Annual Meeting (AAD 2020). Because of concerns regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, all AAD 2020 sessions and presentations were transitioned to a virtual format. While live events will not proceed as planned, readers can click here to view more news related to research presented during the AAD VMX 2020 virtual experience.

Depression was found to be a significant risk factor for psoriasis, although this risk was alleviated by antidepressant treatment, according to study results presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Virtual Meeting Experience (AAD VMX) 2020, held online from June 12 to 14, 2020.

Inflammatory mechanisms may play an important role in depression and psoriasis, with elevated levels of cytokines being present in both disorders. Evidence has suggested that depression may influence the course of psoriasis progression, increasing the risk for psoriatic arthritis in patients.

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In this retrospective cohort study, researchers followed general population and incident depression patient cohorts during the course of the study period (1986-2012) or until the development of psoriasis, death, or transfer. They used The Health Improvement Network database and performed statistical analyses with Cox proportional hazards models to estimate psoriasis risk in patients with depression. Models were adjusted for age, sex, comorbidities, socioeconomic status, alcohol use, smoking, obesity, and antidepressant use.

Patients in the depression cohort (n=398,180) had a 76% higher risk for developing psoriasis compared with the general population cohort (n=5,712,221), with a hazard ratio of 1.76 (95% CI, 1.68-1.85; P <.001). Furthermore, patients with depression who used antidepressants were less likely to develop psoriasis than those who did not use them, suggesting a protective effect for antidepressants (1.38% vs 2.10%; P <.001).

Although the mechanisms remain unknown, antidepressants seem to have a protective effect in relation to the role of depression as a risk factor for psoriasis. The researchers concluded, “Healthcare providers should be aware of the influence of mental health on the development of dermatologic disease including psoriasis.”

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Vallerand I, Lewinson RT, Parsons LM, Lowerison MW, Patten SB, Barnabe C. Depression as a risk factor for the development of psoriasis. Presented at: AAD VMX 2020; June 12-14, 2020. Abstract/Poster 16742.