Epidemiologic Profile of Erectile Dysfunction in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: The Latin American Landscape

J Rheumatol. 2019 Apr;46(4):397-404. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.180292. Epub 2019 Jan 15.


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED), as well as associated demographic and clinical features, in men with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), by means of a systematic, standardized evaluation.

Methods: We performed a transversal study in 8 tertiary care centers in Latin America. We included male patients ≥ 16 years who fulfilled ≥ 4 American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE and had regular sexual activity, and evaluated them with the International Index of Erectile Function-5 questionnaire. Relevant demographic, clinical, and serological characteristics were recorded. We included 2 control groups: the first was made up of healthy men and the second of men with autoimmune diseases other than SLE (non-SLE group).

Results: We included 590 subjects (174 SLE, 55 non-SLE, and 361 healthy controls). The prevalence of ED in the SLE group was 69%. Mean age in that group was 36.3 ± 1.03 years. Among SLE patients with and without ED, these factors were significantly different: the presence of persistent lymphopenia (p = 0.006), prednisone dose (9.3 ± 1.2 vs 5.3 ± 1.3 mg, p = 0.026), and the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics damage score (1.25 ± 0.14 vs 0.8 ± 0.16 points, p = 0.042). Independent risk factors for ED in patients with SLE were persistent lymphopenia (OR 2.79, 95% CI 1.37-5.70, p = 0.001) and corticosteroid use in the previous year (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.37-3.37, p = 0.001).

Conclusion: Regardless of comorbidities, treatment (excluding steroids), and type of disease activity, patients with SLE have a high prevalence of ED, especially considering that most patients are young. Recent corticosteroid use and persistent lymphopenia, which could be related to endothelial dysfunction, are risk factors for this complication in men with SLE.


MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Lymphopenia / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Tertiary Care Centers


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones