Risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Patients With Atopic Dermatitis

JAMA Dermatol. 2023 Oct 1;159(10):1085-1092. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2023.2875.


Zelma C Chiesa Fuxench 1Joy Wan 2Sonia Wang 1Maha N Syed 1Daniel B Shin 1Katrina Abuabara 3Joel M Gelfand 1 4


Author information

1Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

2Department of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

3Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco.

4Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.


Importance: Data on the association between atopic dermatitis (AD) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are inconsistent. Few studies have examined the association of AD or AD severity with risk of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn disease (CD) separately.

Objectives: To examine the risk of new-onset IBD, UC, and CD in children and adults with AD.

Design, setting, and participants: This population-based cohort study assessed patients with AD matched with up to 5 controls on age, practice, and index date. Treatment exposure was used as a proxy for AD severity. Data were retrieved from The Health Improvement Network, a UK electronic medical record database, for January 1, 1994, to February 28, 2015. Data analysis was performed from January 8, 2020, to June 30, 2023.

Main outcomes and measures: Outcomes of interest were incident IBD, UC, and CD. Logistic regression was used to examine the risk for each outcome in children and adults with AD compared with controls.

Results: A total of 1 809 029 pediatric controls were matched to 409 431 children with AD (93.2% mild, 5.5% moderate, and 1.3% severe). The pediatric cohort ranged in median age from 4 to 5 years (overall range, 1-10 years), was predominantly male (936 750 [51.8%] controls, 196 996 [51.6%] with mild AD, 11 379 [50.7%] with moderate AD, and 2985 [56.1%] with severe AD), and with similar socioeconomic status. A total of 2 678 888 adult controls were matched to 625 083 adults with AD (65.7% mild, 31.4% moderate, and 2.9% severe). The adult cohort ranged in median age from 45 to 50 years (overall range, 30-68 years) and was predominantly female (1 445 589 [54.0%] controls, 256 071 [62.3%] with mild AD, 109 404 [55.8%] with moderate AD, and 10 736 [59.3%] with severe AD). In fully adjusted models, children with AD had a 44% increased risk of IBD (hazard ratio [HR], 1.44; 95% CI, 1.31-1.58) and a 74% increased risk of CD (HR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.54-1.97), which increased with worsening AD; however, they did not have increased risk of UC (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.94-1.27) except for those with severe AD (HR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.02-2.67). Adults with AD had a 34% (HR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.27-1.40) increased risk of IBD, a 36% (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.26-1.47) increased risk of CB, and a 32% (HR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.24-1.41) increased risk of UC, with risk increasing with worsening AD.

Conclusion and relevance: In this cohort study, children and adults with AD had an increased risk of IBD, with risk varying by age, AD severity, and IBD subtype. These findings provide new insights into the association between AD and IBD. Clinicians should be aware of these risks, particularly when selecting systemic treatments for AD in patients who may have coincident gastrointestinal symptoms.

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