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Major Depressive Disorder Increases Risk of Autoimmune Skin Diseases

A recent study found patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) had an increased risk of developing autoimmune skin diseases, including hidradenitis suppurativa and psoriasis, compared with those without MDD.

“MDD has been implicated as a risk factor for various immune-related disorders; however, the association between MDD and subsequent autoimmune skin diseases remains unclear,” the researchers said. They investigated this association using data from the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. A total of 222,522 patients with MDD and 890,088 matched controls were included in the study. ____________________________________________________________
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After controlling for confounders, the researchers found that patients with MDD had an increased risk of autoimmune skin diseases compared with matched controls, (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 10.41; 95% CI, 9.62-11.42).

In subgroup analyses, they found patients with MDD had a significantly increased risk of developing psoriasis (aHR, 12.01; 95% CI, 10.37-13.91), lichen planus (aHR, 11.84; 95% CI, 8.90-15.75), alopecia areata (aHR, 11.61; 95% CI, 9.92-13.59), morphea (aHR, 6.03; 95% CI, 2.47-14.73), autoimmune bullous diseases (aHR, 7.67; 95% CI, 5.94-9.90), hidradenitis suppurativa (aHR, 8.45; 95% CI, 3.61-19.74), vitiligo (aHR, 7.24; 95% CI, 5.65-9.28), lupus erythematosus (aHR, 11.30; 95% CI, 9.21-13.86), systemic sclerosis (aHR, 8.07; 95% CI, 4.30-15.14), Sjogren syndrome (aHR, 6.71; 95% CI, 5.29-8.50), and dermatomyositis (aHR, 14.44; 95% CI, 5.55-37.55).

“Our data suggest that there is a need to monitor patients with MDD for the risk of developing autoimmune skin diseases,” the researchers said. “Further studies are needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms,” they concluded.


Dai YX, Tai YH, Chang YT, Chen TJ, Chen MH. Association between major depressive disorder and subsequent autoimmune skin diseases: A nationwide population-based cohort study [published online ahead of print May 25, 2020]. J Affect Disord. 2020;274:334‐338. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2020.05.070

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