The pharmacology of antibiotic therapy in hidradenitis suppurativa

Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2020 May;13(5):521-530. doi: 10.1080/17512433.2020.1762571. Epub 2020 Jul 7.


Introduction: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, inflammatory, and debilitating skin disease. Several pharmacologic agents have been described to reduce lesion activity and inflammation in HS. In this study, we have reviewed the available antibiotic therapies for HS, analyzing the pharmacologic aspects of these kind of treatments.

Areas covered: The role of bacteria, infections, and superinfections in HS is still debated and controversial. Antibiotics are recognized as first-line treatments for hidradenitis suppurativa, but the data on their efficacy are limited. Antibiotics should not be replaced by new biological therapies and it is not necessary to make an efficacy classification: it is important for dermatologists to recognize the right patient and the right moment to prescribe an antibiotic therapy, together or in a rotational way with other therapeutic options.

Expert opinion: The HS treatment process for the physicians is often complicated by the disease's severity and several comorbidities. Fortunately, a better understanding of HS pathogenesis has been used to improve treatment strategies. Antibiotic therapy is an effective treatment of patients with HS but probably, in the next five years, many therapeutic options will be available, which will change the way we manage the disease, especially the moderate-to-severe forms of HS.

Keywords: Antibiotics; acne inversa; hidradenitis suppurativa; pharmacology; therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / drug therapy*
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / microbiology
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents