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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019


Human Studies


2020 Mar

J Invest Dermatol



Itch and mental health in dermatological patients across Europe: a cross sectional study in 13 countries.


Dalgard FJ, Svensson Å, Halvorsen J A, Gieler U, Schut C, Tomas-Aragones L, Lien L, Poot F, Jemec GBE, Misery L, Szabo C, Linder D, Sampogna F, Spillekom-van Koulil S, Balieva F, Szepietowski JC, Lvov A, Marron SE, Altunay IK, Finlay AY, et al.
J Invest Dermatol. 2020 Mar; 140(3):568-573.
PMID: 31491369.


Itch is a highly prevalent and multi-dimensional symptom. We aimed to analyze the association between itch and mental health in dermatological patients. This multi-center study is observational cross-sectional conducted in dermatological clinics across 13 European countries. A total of 3530 patients and 1094 healthy controls were included. Patients were examined clinically. Outcome measures were itch (presence, chronicity and intensity), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, EQ5D-VAS, sociodemographics, suicidal ideation, stress (negative life events and economic difficulties). Ethical approval was obtained. Results showed significant association between the presence of itch in patients and clinical depression, suicidal ideation and economic difficulties (odds ratios respectively OR 1.53 (95% CI 1.15 to 2.02), OR 1.27 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.60), OR 1.24 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.50). The mean score of reported generic health status assessed by the EQ5D-VAS was 65.9 (SD=20.1) in patients with itch, compared to 74.7 (SD= 18.0) in patients without itch, p value < .001 and 74.9 (SD= 15.7) in controls with itch compared to 82.9 (SD= 15.6) in controls without itch, p value <.001. Itch contributes substantially to the psychological disease burden in dermatological patients and the management of patients should include access to multidisciplinary care.