[Treatment options in severe hidradenitis suppurativa]

Jascha E Mooij, Leonie van't Oost, Marjolein F Leenarts, Jan R Mekkes
Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 2011, 155: A1912
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin disease, characterized by painful, deep-seated inflamed lesions, mainly in areas bearing apocrine sweat glands, most commonly the axillary and inguinal regions. Pain leads to mechanical problems, and bacterial growth in the lesions produces a foul-smelling discharge, which reduces the quality of life. In this type of hidradenitis the infection occurs around hair follicles and sebaceous glands, in contrast to what the name would suggest (hidradenitis = sweat-gland inflammation); hidradenitis suppurativa can, therefore be regarded more as a form of acne. The aetiology of hidradenitis is still unknown, but associated factors are smoking, obesity and familial predisposition.The syndrome can take a severe and disabling course. It is worthwhile implementing aggressive treatment at an early stage. Tumour necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors are now employed in the treatment of severe and treatment-resistant forms of hidradenitis suppurativa; under certain conditions this treatment will be reimbursed by the health insurance company. This development means that there are more treatment possibilities in hidradenitis than there were 5 years ago. The best results are achieved with a combination of antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and surgical treatment, tailored to the patient's individual situation.

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