Scientific Objective light exposure measurements and circadian rhythm in patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria: A case-control study

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Objective light exposure measurements and circadian rhythm in patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria: A case-control study

2 January 2022

Abstract
Background
Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) patients suffer from painful phototoxicity. Sunlight-avoiding behaviour has not yet been quantified objectively in EPP patients.
Objective
To study total white light exposure obtained with an actigraph device, before and during afamelanotide treatment, in EPP patients compared to healthy controls. Effects on circadian rhythm, pain and sleep were also investigated.
Methods
Adult EPP patients visiting the Porphyria Center Rotterdam of the Erasmus MC were included in this single-center longitudinal case-control open-label intervention study. Controls were age and place of residence matched. Participants wore an actigraph (Actiwatch Pro) during two weeks for multiple periods. Afamelanotide was given to EPP patients as part of standard care.
Results
Twenty-six EPP patients and 23 matched controls participated. Controls were statistically significantly more exposed to white light than EPP patients off treatment during autumn (95.4%), spring (69.9%), and summer (105.4%; p = 0.01). EPP patients on afamelanotide treatment had 71.6% more light exposure during spring compared to EPP patients off treatment (p < 0.01). Afamelanotide treatment resulted in a reduction of painful moments in the morning (6.5% decrease) and the evening (8.1% decrease; p < 0.05). Bedtime differed between EPP patients off treatment, controls and EPP patients on treatment (23:45 h ± 1:51 versus 23:02 ± 1:41 and 23:14 ± 1:29, respectively; p < 0.0001).
Conclusion
Actigraphy is a useful method to objectively measure white light exposure and treatment effects in EPP. In EPP patients afamelanotide treatment is associated with increased white light exposure during spring, and overall less pain. Treatment with afamelanotide is also associated with normalization of circadian rhythm.
 

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