4 December 2014
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a chronic inborn error of amino acid metabolism that requires lifelong follow-up and intervention, which may represent strains on Quality of Life (QoL). This observational study evaluated QoL in a cohort of PKU patients, using updated and detailed instruments.
22 patients with mild PKU respondent to BH 4 and 21 patients with classical PKU treated with diet were recruited in this study. Adult patients completed WHOQOL questionnaire-100 (WHOQOL-100) and pediatric patients the Pediatric QoL inventory (PedsQL TM). Psychiatric and mood disorders were also evaluated using TAD or BDI and STAI-Y inventories. A multivariable linear regression model was fitted to investigate the predictors of QoL, including age, sex, treatment type, length of current treatment, educational level and employment status (only for adults) as covariates. Results were presented as regression coefficients with 95% confidence interval.
Global QoL scores were within normal range both in patients with mild and classical disease but global QoL scores were significantly higher in patients with mild PKU under BH 4 treatment as compared to those affected by classical disease who were under diet regimen. Furthermore, QoL significantly increased in long treated PKU patients. Among adult patients, QoL scores were significantly lower in males, in patients with lower education and in those employed or unemployed as compared to students (baseline).
Both diet and medical treatment based upon BH 4 seem to be associated with higher QoL in the long run. However, patients with mild PKU can rely on BH 4 to achieve a higher Phe tolerance and a better compliance to therapy due to diet relaxation/avoidance. Some specific categories of patients with a lower QoL should be investigated more in depth, engaging with those at risk of lower treatment compliance. The questionnaires employed in the present study seemed to be able to effectively detect criticalities in QoL assessment and represent an advance from previous inventories employed in the past.