It is unclear if depression is associated with impaired lung function in subjects with asthma, while few studies evaluated the effect of antidepressants on the relationship between depression and asthma. We designed this study to investigate if subjects with concomitant asthma and depression not taking antidepressants have worse asthma outcomes compared to asthmatic subjects without depression, and to evaluate whether antidepressants modify this association.
This is a cross-sectional study. We included non-smokers with asthma, 18 years old or above. Study subjects attended an appointment with a chest physician, answered study questionnaires and underwent a spirometry test. We performed crude and adjusted binary logistic regression analyses.
We enrolled 309 subjects with asthma, of whom 48 with depression taking antidepressants, 52 with depression not taking antidepressants, and 209 without depression (control group). Asthmatic subjects with depression who had not used antidepressants before enrollment were more likely to have uncontrolled symptoms of asthma [adjusted OR 3.10, 95CI (1.56-6.15)] and airway obstruction [adjusted OR 2.41, 95CI (1.24-4.69)] compared to the control group. Subjects who had used antidepressants had higher odds of uncontrolled symptoms of asthma [adjusted OR 3.02, 95CI (1,50-6.07)], but similar odds of airway obstruction [adjusted OR 1.24, 95CI (0.87-1.77)] compared to the control group.
Non-treated depression is associated with airway obstruction in subjects with asthma, but antidepressants modify this association. Thus, we recommend regular screening of depression in subjects with asthma, and prescription of antidepressants whenever depression symptoms justify pharmacological therapy.

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