Hormonal Treatments in Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Systematic Review

J Drugs Dermatol. 2023 Aug 1;22(8):785-794. doi: 10.36849/jdd.7325.


Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by recurrent abscesses, nodules, and sinus tracts. Hormones are thought to play an important role in HS pathophysiology, but there is a lack of an updated review on hormonal treatments in HS.  Objective: Perform a systematic review of the literature on hormonal treatments in patients with HS.  Methods: In April 2022, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched for articles on hormonal treatments in HS. Non-English, duplicate, and irrelevant results were excluded. Data extraction was performed by two reviewers.  Results: From 1952 to 2022, 30 articles (634 patients) met the inclusion criteria. Anti-androgen treatments discussed include finasteride (n=8), spironolactone (n=7), cyproterone acetate (CPA) (n=5), flutamide (n=1), leuprolide (n=1), and buserelin acetate (n=1). Metabolic treatments reported include metformin (n=8) and liraglutide (n=2). Three articles on hormonal contraceptives and 2 articles on testosterone were included. Of the articles which reported response rates, 62.8% (27/43) of patients improved with finasteride, 53.3% (32/60) with CPA mono/combination therapy, 50.5% (51/101) with spironolactone, and 46.0% (74/161) with metformin. Improvement in HS was also noted in case reports of patients treated with buserelin acetate, leuprolide, flutamide, and liraglutide.    Conclusions: Hormonal treatments for HS, especially finasteride, spironolactone, and metformin, are efficacious and safe; but large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the patient populations which would benefit from these therapies. Masson R, Shih T, Jeong C, et al. Hormonal treatments in hidradenitis suppurativa: a systematic review. J Drugs Dermatol. 2023;22(8):785-794. doi:10.36849/JDD.7325.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Finasteride / therapeutic use
  • Flutamide / therapeutic use
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa* / diagnosis
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Liraglutide / therapeutic use
  • Metformin*
  • Spironolactone / therapeutic use


  • Finasteride
  • Flutamide
  • Spironolactone
  • Liraglutide
  • Metformin