Self-rated psychosocial consequences and quality of life in the acute porphyrias

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2001 Dec;24(7):733-47. doi: 10.1023/a:1012901607040.


A battery of self-report psychosocial measures was mailed to 116 patients who had been referred for clinical management (clinic attenders) or laboratory diagnosis (non-clinic attenders) to the London Supraregional Assay Service Centre for Porphyria over the past decade and who tested positive for porphyria. Usable replies were received from 81 (70%) patients. Our interest focused on the prevalence of psychosocial symptoms in acute porphyrias and the perceived effects of porphyria on quality of life and patient experience. Research questions examined included (i), lifestyle factors; (ii) life events; (iii) mental health; (iv) general health; and (v) perceptions of illness of patients receiving specialist clinical management compared to respondents referred for diagnostic investigations, between patients with latent or manifest symptomology and between patients with different types of porphyria. Patients with porphyria have an impaired quality of life, particularly manifest cases, compared to controls and to diabetic patients. Depression, and particularly anxiety, is more common than in the general population or general medical outpatient attenders. Quality oflife is lower in acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) than in other forms of porphyria and a significant number of patients had major life event consequences, e.g. failure to secure, or loss of, employment, limitation of family size. Patients attending a clinic providing specialist porphyria advice, management and counselling received some perceived lifestyle benefits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Employment
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain
  • Porphyria, Acute Intermittent / psychology
  • Porphyrias / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*