Patients with eczema may be more likely to have suicidal thoughts and attempts compared to their counterparts without eczema, according to a new study in JAMA Dermatology.

Researchers evaluated the association between eczema and suicidal thoughts and attempts by analyzing the combined results of 15 studies including 310,000 patients with eczema and 4.4 million people without eczema. They found that patients with atopic dermatitis had a 44 percent increased odds of suicidal ideation and a 36 percent increased odds of suicide attempts compared with patients without atopic dermatitis. Studies investigating completed suicides in patients with AD had inconsistent results.

It is well known that atopic dermatitis has a negative affect on quality of life, but its link to suicide risk and ideation was inconclusive until now.  “It is important for dermatology providers to be aware of this increased risk in patients with atopic dermatitis, monitor for suicidality, and make appropriate referrals to mental health professionals,” the study authors conclude.