March 11, 2016
1 min read

Less than 1% of patients with dermatologic conditions screened for depression

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Despite being a common comorbidity, patients being treated for skin diseases are rarely screened for depression, according to research presented at a late-breaking research forum at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.

"Skin diseases have important psychological comorbidities in adults, including the recently reported associations of depression with atopic dermatitis and psoriasis," Lin Mu, Yale School of Medicine, reported in her abstract. "Dermatological patients may thus benefit from depression screening for timely management."

Mu analyzed data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (2005-2012) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (2005-2011) to assess depression screenings in patients with dermatological conditions. She identified 52.9 million yearly physician visits from patients with established dermatological diagnosis.

Only 365,000 visits (95% CI, 253,000-477,000) included a depression screening. Mu reported that screening was more likely to occur during a preventive visit than a visit for a newly onset issue (OR = 3.33; 95% CI, 1.62-6.86). Screening was also more likely among patients who had six or more visits that year compared with patients who only had one or two visits (OR = 2.11; 1.06-4.23).

Mu found no significant differences in race, ethnicity, age, sex, geographic region or insurance type.

"The study shows that in less than 1% of U.S. adult ambulatory visits with dermatologic diagnosis do physicians currently screen for depression, a common condition associated with skin diseases," Mu told Healio Internal Medicine. "It reminds clinicians to consider and address potential psychological comorbidities in dermatologic patients for more comprehensive care and the healing of the whole person."

Mu cited the latest U.S. Preventive Services Task Force depression screening guidelines, which recommended screening in the general adult population.

"Provided that adequate systems for appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up are in place, people with dermatologic conditions should be screened for depression," she said. "The optimal frequency and modality, however, remain to be clarified in future research." – by Chelsea Frajerman Pardes

Disclosures: Mu reported no relevant financial disclosures.


Mu L. F097. Late-Breaking Research: Clinical Studies/Pediatric. Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting; March 4-8, 2016; Washington, D.C.