The medical and laser management of hidradenitis suppurativa

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2015 Apr;16(2):111-23. doi: 10.1007/s40257-015-0118-8.


Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, debilitating skin disease characterized by painful recurrent nodules and abscesses. In advanced stages, sinus tracts form, with resulting fibrotic and cribriform scar formation, leading to dermal contractures and induration of the affected skin. The epidemiology of HS is poorly described, and few population-based studies exist. The reported incidence varies from 0.0003 to 4%. Effective treatment options for HS are limited, and randomized controlled trials addressing the safety and/or efficacy of available treatments are scarce. No medical treatment to date has been approved by the US FDA specifically for the treatment of HS. While some evidence of disease improvement exists with agents including clindamycin and rifampicin, metformin, fumarates, infliximab, and adalimumab, no single treatment has shown overwhelmingly positive outcomes. The lack of randomized controlled trials for most treatments and often disappointing treatment outcomes is disheartening. This study reviews the published evidence for treatment options for HS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biological Therapy / methods
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / microbiology
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / therapy*
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Laser Therapy / methods*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents