A recent study from University College London has shown a link between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations and depression.

Jadwiga Wedzicha and colleagues studied 169 patients over a 1-year period to assess whether depression symptoms increased at the time of exacerbations and whether depression was linked to frequency of exacerbations.

Results showed that symptoms of depression were significantly higher at exacerbation than at baseline. Additionally, patients who experience frequent exacerbations had higher depression scores in the stable state compared to infrequent exacerbators.

The research team says that a lack of recognition of depression may have implications for uptake and completion of treatment. They also recommend routine screenings for depression in COPD patients when appropriate.

The study is published in The European Respiratory Journal.