Erythropoietic protoporphyria in the Netherlands: Clinical features, psychosocial impact and the effect of afamelanotide

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Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) patients experience severe burning pain after light exposure, which results in a markedly reduced quality of life. However, there is limited information on the psychosocial aspects of EPP. To investigate the clinical features and social aspects of living with EPP, before and during afamelanotide treatment in the Netherlands. A single-center prospective longitudinal study of adult patients with EPP attending the Erasmus MC Rotterdam. Patients completed questionnaires, comprising demographic, clinical and social details, including two generic (DS-14 and SF-36) and a disease specific (EPP-QoL) QoL questionnaires. 121 adult EPP patients were included. The educational level of EPP patients seemed higher compared to the Dutch population (36% vs. 30% high-education, 42% vs. 37% middle-education). At baseline 5% of the EPP patients were unemployed, none were unemployed during afamelanotide treatment. Full- and part-time employment rate increased from 59.5% to 69.9% on afamelanotide treatment (p > 0.05). EPP-QoL improved from 44% to 75% on afamelanotide treatment (p < 0.001). Type-D personality was present in 27.4% of patients; their social inhibition scores improved significantly on afamelanotide treatment (p = 0.019). EPP patients scored low on the social functioning domain (SF-36) compared to the Dutch population (74.4 ± 27.3 vs. 84.0 ± 22.4; respectively), and improved during afamelanotide treatment (84.3 ± 20.9, p = 0.001). EPP has a significant negative impact on social aspects, with less employment despite a higher education level. Afamelanotide treatment improves quality of life, social functioning and possibly employment rate. It is important to recognize the impact of EPP on social life, although, more research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-452
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dermatology
Issue number4
Early online date28 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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© 2022 The Authors. The Journal of Dermatology published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Dermatological Association.


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