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Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Oct 1;42(7):625-30.

Asthma and panic attacks.

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Department of Neuropsychiatric Sciences, University of Milan, San Raffaele Hospital, Italy.


Panic disorder (PD) and asthma share many common characteristics and have been found in epidemiological studies to be significantly comorbid. To investigate possible reasons for this overlapping, the authors evaluated 51 patients with asthma, assessing the prevalence of PD and sporadic panic attacks, the temporal relationship between these two disorders, and the familial risk for PD in the families of asthmatics. The results showed significantly higher prevalences of PD, sporadic panic attacks, and social phobia in asthmatics than those reported for the general population. In 9 (90%) of the asthmatics with PD, asthma appeared first. Finally, the morbidity risk for PD in families of asthmatics with PD (13.5%) was significantly higher than in families of asthmatics without evidence of panic (2%). Our results suggest that the high prevalence of PD in asthmatics might be related to a facilitating effect of asthma on the development of PD in subjects with familial predisposition to PD.

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