Sexual Dysfunction and Depression Common in Patients With Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis

Sad man sitting head in hands sitting in the dark with low light environment.
A team of investigators sought to determine the impact on chronic inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis on sexual life.

The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence 2021, being held virtually from November 3 to 10, 2021. The team at Rheumatology Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in rheumatology. Check back for more from the ACR Convergence 2021.


Patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) or psoriasis often report experiencing depression and erectile dysfunction, according to study results presented at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence 2021, held November 3-10, 2021.

Few studies have investigated how PsA and psoriasis affect patient sexuality, and reliable data on the prevalence of depression and sexual dysfunction in these patients are lacking.  Therefore, a team of investigators recruited patients with PsA and psoriasis from 2 German tertiary university hospitals in order to evaluate various sexual- and disease-specific factors. The study was conducted using a self-designed questionnaire derived from the Dermatology Life Quality Index, 15-item version of International Index of Erectile Function, the 9-item Qualisex questionnaire, a 19-item version of the validated Female Sexual Function Index, and the Beck’s Depression Inventory.

Of the 416 participants included in the study, 219 had psoriasis and 197 had PsA. The psoriasis group consisted of 94 women (43%; mean age, 45 years) and 125 men (57%; mean age, 43 years). The PsA group consisted of 80 women (41%; mean age 47.5 years) and 117 men (59%; mean age, 45 years). A control group of individuals without PsA or psoriasis consisted of 87 women (median age, 34 years) and 119 men (median age, 52 years).

The prevalence of sexual dysfunction was high among the psoriasis and PsA patient groups (82.6% and 75.6%) compared with the control group (44.8%; P <.0001). The investigators reported a significant difference in erectile dysfunction among groups, which occurred in 11.8% and 9.4% of patients aged 18 to 35 with moderate to severe psoriasis or PsA, respectively, compared with no complaints of erectile dysfunction by men in the control group (P =.05). Depression was reported by 50.1% and 34.0% of women with PsA and psoriasis, respectively, compared with 3.5% of women in the control group (P =.0001). Depression was reported by 23.2% and 29.9% of men with psoriasis and PsA, respectively, compared with 8.5% of men in the control group (8.5%; P =.0001).

The study investigators conclude, “Our work shows the impact of chronic diseases, such as [psoriasis] and PsA, on the sexuality and mood of our patients in a large collective. In patients who suffer from an additional articular disease in combination with skin disease, the proportion of erectile dysfunction and depression is particularly high. Physicians should pay more attention to these common comorbidities and consciously address them during the medical consultations.”

Disclosure: This clinical trial was supported by an unrestricted grant from Novartis. Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


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Saur S, Schloegl A, Höppner C, Meier K, Hahn M, Henes J. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction and depression in German patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – results of the PIPPA study. Poster presented at: ACR Convergence 2021; November 3-10, 2021. Abstract 225.