Pathogenesis and pharmacotherapy of Hidradenitis suppurativa

Eur J Pharmacol. 2011 Dec 15;672(1-3):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.08.047. Epub 2011 Sep 14.


The focus of this review is to discuss the pathogenesis and the pharmacotherapy of Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). HS is a distressing chronic skin disorder characterized by abscesses, boils, fistulas and scarring, generally affecting the groins, anogenital area and axillae. It is a common disease with an estimated prevalence of 1%. The etiology is unknown. HS was thought to be a disease of the apocrine sweat glands, but histological findings indicate that HS is a disease arising from the hair follicles. Several pathogenic factors seem important including genetic predisposition, smoking, obesity and an aberrant immune response to commensal flora. The management of HS is tremendously challenging because effective therapies are lacking. Nevertheless, HS has been treated with topical and systemic antibiotics, retinoids and immunosuppressive drugs such as anti-TNF-α biologics with partial success. In this review we will also discuss a potential new therapy for HS with the anti-psoriases agent acitretin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / drug therapy*
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / immunology
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / metabolism
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Androgens