Study: Eosinophilic Esophagitis Patients at Greater Risk for Psychiatric Illness

A recent study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology has demonstrated that people diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) are at a higher risk for anxiety, mood disorders, as well as ADHD. With this newfound knowledge, providers can pay closer attention to symptoms of these conditions in their patients and provide better care.

The Study

Lead author on this study was Lovisa Röjler from the University Hospital in Sweden.

Röjler and their team used data from the ESPRESSO cohort. This cohort includes 6 million patient samples from Sweden from 1965 to 2017.  In particular, the team found 1,458 patients in this cohort who were diagnosed with EoE and hadn’t faced any kind of psychiatric event prior to their diagnosis. Of this sample, 58% faced food impaction and 70% faced dysphagia.

Additionally, the team selected 6,436 reference people who did not have EoE. These people were matched with the EoE patients in regard to sex, age, and geography.


The team found that of the 1,458 patients diagnosed with EoE, there were 106 people who faced psychiatric disease. Compared to the healthy controls, those with EoE had a 50% higher risk for developing a psychiatric illness.

The researchers next considered EoE patients compared to their siblings to adjust for any environmental or genetic confounding variables. They found that of the 1,055 people with EoE who had siblings, 74 psychiatric events occurred among 1,688 siblings. This equates to a 62% higher risk of psychiatric events for EoE patients.

They next examined educational variables and the incidence of other conditions. For those patients who did not have educational data available, there was an increased risk of psychiatric events. Additionally, when other conditions such as asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease were controlled for, EoE patients still had a higher risk.

On a positive note, there was no increased risk of psychiatric events for EoE patients being treated with proton-pump inhibitors or steroids. Nonetheless, the fact that EoE patients were not any more likely to have psychiatric events before their diagnosis compared to the reference groups demonstrates that these events were a response to EoE.

You can read more about this study and its findings here.

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