Background/purpose: Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) is common and associated with certain comorbidities. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of selected comorbidities in patients with RAUs and to compare the risks of comorbidity between the two cohorts of patients with or without RAUs based on the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database. Methods: This case–control study included patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis (the RAS cohort) and patients without recurrent aphthous stomatitis using 1:1 matching for year of index date, age, sex, monthly income, geographical location, and urbanization level (the non-RAS cohort). We calculated the prevalence of 31 medical comorbidities based on a modified version of the Elixhauser comorbidity index within 1 year before and after the index date. Conditional logistic regression was conducted to compare the risks of each comorbidity between the two cohorts. Results: Compared with the non-RAS cohort, the RAS cohort had a significantly higher prevalence of 16 comorbidities, with 2% or higher prevalence difference for hyperlipidemia (2.9%), headaches (6.9%), liver diseases (2.8%), and peptic ulcers (5.4%). The adjusted odds ratios were >1.5 for headaches (1.92), migraines (1.62), hypothyroidism (1.50), rheumatoid arthritis (1.92), ankylosing spondylitis (1.94), systemic lupus erythematosus (1.82), liver diseases (1.51), peptic ulcers (1.69), hepatitis (1.62), depression (1.76), and psychoses (1.50). Conclusion: Patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis were associated with increased risk of specific comorbidities. Physicians should screen for these comorbidities for early detection and treatment.
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