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OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of psychiatric diagnoses on healthcare use in youth with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) during their first year of SLE care.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using claims from 2000 to 2013 from Clinformatics Data Mart (OptumInsight). Youth aged 10 years to 24 years with an incident diagnosis of SLE (≥ 3 International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, codes for SLE 710.0, > 30 days apart) were categorized as having: (1) a preceding psychiatric diagnosis in the year before SLE diagnosis, (2) an incident psychiatric diagnosis in the year after SLE diagnosis, or (3) no psychiatric diagnosis. We compared ambulatory, emergency, and inpatient visits in the year after SLE diagnosis, stratified by nonpsychiatric and psychiatric visits. We examined the effect of childhood-onset vs adult-onset SLE by testing for an interaction between age and psychiatric exposure on outcome.
RESULTS: We identified 650 youth with an incident diagnosis of SLE, of which 122 (19%) had a preceding psychiatric diagnosis and 105 (16%) had an incident psychiatric diagnosis. Compared with those without a psychiatric diagnosis, youth with SLE and a preceding or incident psychiatric diagnosis had more healthcare use across both ambulatory and emergency settings for both nonpsychiatric and psychiatric-related care. These associations were minimally affected by age at time of SLE diagnosis.
CONCLUSION: Psychiatric comorbidity is common among youth with newly diagnosed SLE and is associated with greater healthcare use. Interventions to address preceding and incident psychiatric comorbidity may decrease healthcare burden for youth with SLE.