The aim of this study was to examine Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) of patients with Phenylketonuria (PKU) in three different age groups and to investigate the impact of metabolic control and tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) treatment on HRQoL of these patients. Participants were 90 early-treated patients aged 7 to 40 years (M = 21.0, SD = 10.1) and 109 controls aged 7 to 40.8 years (M = 19.4, SD = 8.6). HRQoL was assessed with the (generic) TNO-AZL questionnaires. Overall, good HRQoL was reported for children below 12 years of age, although they were judged to be less autonomic than their healthy counterparts. Adolescents aged 12–15 years showed poorer HRQoL in the domain “cognitive functioning” compared to controls. For adults ≥16 years, poorer age-controlled HRQoL was found for the domains cognition, depressive moods, and anger, with a further trend for the domain “pain”. With respect to metabolic control, only for adult PKU-patients robust associations were observed, indicating poorer functioning, most notably in the domains cognition, sleep, pain, sexuality and anger, with higher historical and concurrent Phe-levels. With respect to BH4-use, effects on HRQoL were again only observed for adult PKU-patients. After controlling for age and historical Phe-levels, small but significant differences in favor of adult BH4-users compared to non-users were observed for HRQoL-categories happiness, anger, and social functioning. Together, these results show that, particularly for adult PKU-patients, HRQoL-problems are evident and that many of these problems are related to (history of) metabolic control. Beneficial effects of BH4-use appear to be limited to those associated with relief from the practical burdens related to the strict dietary treatment regimen, i.e. general mood and sociability, whereas metabolic control is more strongly related to basic physical and cognitive functioning.

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Keywords Health-related quality of life, Metabolic control, Phenylalanine, Phenylketonuria, Tetrahydrobiopterin
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Journal Molecular Genetics and Metabolism
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Huijbregts, S.C.J, Bosch, A.M, Simons, Q.A. (Quirine A.), Jahja, R, Brouwers, M.C.G.J, de Sonneville, L.M.J, … van Spronsen, F.J. (2018). The impact of metabolic control and tetrahydrobiopterin treatment on health related quality of life of patients with early-treated phenylketonuria: A PKU-COBESO study. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism. doi:10.1016/j.ymgme.2018.07.002