ORLANDO — Decreased sexual functioning is more common among female patients with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, which should prompt early screenings for these patient populations, according to study findings presented at the Rheumatology Nurses Society Annual Conference.
“We wanted to examine sexual functioning in women with inflammatory arthritis, and when we did our literature review, we found a few studies looking at female patients with RA in particular,” Denise Boone, RN, MScN, ACPAC, a nurse specialist in rheumatology at The Ottawa Hospital in Ontario told Healio Rheumatology. “What we didn’t find was any data on patients with PsA.”
To determine the impact of sexual dysfunction among female patients with PsA, Boone and colleagues identified and compared Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) scores of women with RA against women with PsA and healthy controls. The researchers conducted a convenience sampling from June to December of 2018, recruiting 50 females with RA, 34 with PsA and 50 healthy controls.
Data were analyzed using an ANOVA test with Games-Howel’s post-hoc to examine disparities for FSFI score based on diagnosis. The researchers conducted the analysis twice after removing participants who reported no have sexual intercourse within the previous month.
According to the study findings, a significant proportion of patients with RA and PsA met the criteria for sexual dysfunction (FSFI score < 26.55): 32% of controls, 72% of patients with RA and 68% of patients with PsA.
The researchers observed no statistical difference between the patients with RA and PsA in either analysis of all patients or those who had only had sexual intercourse within the previous month.
“What we found was that women with RA or PsA had similarly low sexual health scores,” Boone said. “What was also interesting was that our ‘healthy’ controls also met the criteria for sexual dysfunction. The biggest difference between the healthy controls and two patient groups was the age difference and certainly age was correlated with increased sexual dysfunction.”
She added, “Since the rates are high in sexual dysfunction, unrelated to patient global or [health assessment questionnaire] scores, these findings should prompt providers to screen for sexual dysfunction in women with PsA, as well as RA.” – by Robert Stott
Boone D. Comparison of female sexual function index in patients with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis and healthy controls. Presented at: Rheumatology Nurses Society Annual Conference; Aug. 7-10, 2019; Orlando.
Disclosure: Boone reports no relevant financial disclosures.