It is well established that anxiety and depression are associated with asthma, but there is limited evidence about the persistence of anxiety/depression in asthma. The aim of our study was to assess the long-term predictors of anxiety and depression in adult asthmatic patients.
A total of 90 adult asthma patients (63 women, age 18–50 years) with different levels of disease control (28 uncontrolled and 34 partially controlled) were assessed at baseline and at follow-up after 7 years for anxiety, depression and asthma control. The same work-up on both occasions included: demographics, living conditions, medical history (e.g. comorbidities, adherence and exacerbations), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ), disease control and lung function. Persistence was defined as the HADS scores for anxiety and depression present at baseline and follow-up.
The HADS results at follow-up visit showed 36 (40%) asthma patients with anxiety and 13 (14%) with depression, with the persistence of anxiety in 17 (19%) and of depression in 7 (8%) patients. Significant predictors of anxiety at follow-up were HADS and AQLQ results at baseline and several parameters of asthma control at follow-up (area under the curve AUC 0.917, 95% confidence interval CI 0.829–0.969, p < 0.001) and for depression AQLQ mood disorder domain, asthma control and lung function (AUC 0.947, 95% CI 0.870–0.986, p < 0.001).
Anxiety and depression persist over years in some patients with asthma. The association between mood disorders and asthma suggests potential mutual treatability.