Management of early treated adolescents and young adults with phenylketonuria: Development of international consensus recommendations using a modified Delphi approach

Mol Genet Metab. 2022 Sep-Oct;137(1-2):114-126. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2022.07.012. Epub 2022 Jul 29.


Background: Early treated patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) often become lost to follow-up from adolescence onwards due to the historical focus of PKU care on the pediatric population and lack of programs facilitating the transition to adulthood. As a result, evidence on the management of adolescents and young adults with PKU is limited.

Methods: Two meetings were held with a multidisciplinary international panel of 25 experts in PKU and comorbidities frequently experienced by patients with PKU. Based on the outcomes of the first meeting, a set of statements were developed. During the second meeting, these statements were voted on for consensus generation (≥70% agreement), using a modified Delphi approach.

Results: A total of 37 consensus recommendations were developed across five areas that were deemed important in the management of adolescents and young adults with PKU: (1) general physical health, (2) mental health and neurocognitive functioning, (3) blood Phe target range, (4) PKU-specific challenges, and (5) transition to adult care. The consensus recommendations reflect the personal opinions and experiences from the participating experts supported with evidence when available. Overall, clinicians managing adolescents and young adults with PKU should be aware of the wide variety of PKU-associated comorbidities, initiating screening at an early age. In addition, management of adolescents/young adults should be a joint effort between the patient, clinical center, and parents/caregivers supporting adolescents with gradually gaining independent control of their disease during the transition to adulthood.

Conclusions: A multidisciplinary international group of experts used a modified Delphi approach to develop a set of consensus recommendations with the aim of providing guidance and offering tools to clinics to aid with supporting adolescents and young adults with PKU.

Keywords: Adolescent; Consensus recommendations; Modified Delphi; PKU; Phenylketonuria; Young adult.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Consensus
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Phenylketonurias* / diagnosis
  • Young Adult