Saturday, March 26, 2011

Risk of herpes zoster among patients with psychiatric diseases: a population-based study.

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Apr;25(4):447-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2010.03811.x.

Yang YW, Chen YH, Lin HW.

Department of Dermatology, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan School of Public Health, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan Biostatistic Research and Consulting Center, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Background: Psychiatric disorders have been shown to be associated with impaired immune response, including decreased cellular immunity to varicella-zoster virus. However, the risk of herpes zoster (HZ) in psychiatric patients is, to date, unknown.

Objective The aim of this study was to determine the risk of herpes zoster (HZ) in psychiatric patients compared with the general population. Methods We used data from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database from 2004 to 2006. Our study cohort consisted of patients aged 18 years and older diagnosed with psychiatric disorders in 2004 (N = 42 340). The comparison cohort (N = 169 360) consisted of four age- and gender-matched controls randomly selected for every patient in the study cohort. All subjects were followed from the date of cohort entry until they developed HZ or the end of 2006, whichever was earliest. Stratified Cox proportional hazard regressions were performed to compute the 2-year HZ-free survival rates. Results After adjusting for potential confounders, we found patients with psychiatric disorders were more likely to have an episode of HZ than the control population [adjusted hazard ratio (HR), 1.29; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.18-1.38]. When stratified by age and psychiatric diagnostic categories, in patients aged ≤60 years, the adjusted HRs for HZ were 1.34 (P = 0.026) for patients with affective psychoses, 1.42 (P < 0.001) for those with neurotic illness or personality disorders and 1.53 (P < 0.001) for patients with other mental disorders. However, in patients aged >60 years, only neurotic illness or personality disorders were significantly associated with an increased risk of HZ (adjusted HR, 1.26; P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Our analysis suggests that patients with psychiatric disorders are at increased risk of HZ, especially those aged ≤60 years. Further study is required to elucidate the nature of this association.

© 2010 The Authors. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology © 2010 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

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