The prevalence of psychiatric disease in patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is not fully characterized. We aimed to determine the prevalence of psychiatric disease and centrally acting medication use in a cohort of children and adults with EoE and evaluated whether psychiatric disease affects the EoE clinical presentation.
We conducted a retrospective study of newly diagnosed cases with EoE at the University of North Carolina from 2002 to 2018. Psychiatric comorbidities and relevant treatments were extracted from the medical records. The demographic and clinical features of patients with EoE with and without psychiatric diagnoses, and those with and without psychiatric medication use, were compared.
Of 883 patients (mean age 26.6 years, 68% men, 79% white), 241 (28%) had a psychiatric comorbidity. The most common diagnosis was anxiety (23%) followed by depression (17%); 28% of patients were treated pharmacologically. There were 45 patients (5%) treated pharmacologically without a psychiatric diagnosis for chronic pain syndromes, insomnia, and/or epilepsy. Cases with EoE with a psychiatric diagnosis were more likely to be women, white, and 18 years or older and to have a longer symptom duration before diagnosis.
Psychiatric comorbidities were common in EoE, seen in a third of adults and more than 1 in 7 children, and with similar proportions receiving a prescription medication. These illnesses affected the EoE presentation because psychiatric comorbidities were more likely in older, female, and white patients with a longer duration of symptoms preceding diagnosis.