Background: Sex differences in the development of alcohol dependence (AD) among patients with panic disorder (PD) remain unexplored. The study investigated sex as an effect modifier in the incidence of AD among patients with PD. Method: We included 9480 patients with PD from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. A total of 169 patients (89 men and 80 women) developed incident AD during the follow-up period. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were used to represent the relative risks of incident AD compared with the general population. Based on a nested case–control study design, 10 controls were selected for each case. Medical utilization and psychiatric comorbidity before diagnosing AD were analyzed using conditional logistic regression. Results: The SIR of incident AD was 3.36 for men and 6.29 for women. Women with PD and incident AD had more visits to the outpatient department than the controls did, whereas men exhibited no significant differences. Women with incident AD were more likely to comorbid with depressive disorder (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = 2.94), personality disorder (aRR = 5.03), and sleep disorder (aRR = 1.72), whereas men with incident AD were more likely to comorbid with sleep disorder (aRR = 1.85) and other substance use disorders (aRR = 3.08). Conclusion: Patients with PD have an additional risk of developing AD compared with the general population, and that risk is higher in women. Women and men exhibited dissimilar patterns of medical utilization and psychiatric comorbidity before developing AD. Sex differences should be taken into consideration when establishing preventive measures.
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