High prevalence of alcohol use disorders in patients with inflammatory skin diseases

Br J Dermatol. 2017 Sep;177(3):837-844. doi: 10.1111/bjd.15497. Epub 2017 Jul 7.


Background: There is a known association between psoriasis and heavy alcohol consumption. The association between heavy alcohol consumption and other inflammatory skin diseases remains to be defined.

Objectives: To examine the prevalence of heavy drinking using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) in patients with inflammatory skin disease.

Methods: We conducted an observational cross-sectional study in a single hospital outpatient department. We recruited 609 patients with either psoriasis, eczema, cutaneous lupus or other inflammatory disorders, and a reference population with skin lesions. Primary outcome was the proportion of patients in each group with an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Results: The observed prevalence of AUD was 30·6% in patients with psoriasis, 33·3% in those with eczema, 12·3% in those with cutaneous lupus, 21·8% in those with other inflammatory disease and 14·3% in those with non-inflammatory disease. Odds ratios (OR) for AUD in patients in the inflammatory groups compared with those in the noninflammatory groups, adjusted for age and sex, were as follows: psoriasis 1·65 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0·86-3·17], eczema 2·00 (95% CI 1·03-3·85), lupus 1·03 (95% CI 0·39-2·71), other inflammatory disease 1·32 (95% CI 0·68-2·56). ORs were reduced if also adjusted for Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). The prevalence of DLQI ≥ 11 was 31·1% for psoriasis, 43·7% for eczema, 17·5% for cutaneous lupus, 17·2% for other inflammatory disease and 2·8% for noninflammatory disease.

Conclusions: Patients with eczema attending a hospital clinic have been shown to have high levels of AUD of a similar level to patients with psoriasis and higher than patients with noninflammatory skin diseases.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eczema / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / psychology
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Skin Diseases / psychology*
  • Young Adult