What Treatments Are Available for HS?
Depending on the stage, you may have several choices.
Christopher Sayed, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explains the range of options, including topicals to advanced biologics.
There are a range of different medical treatments used for hidradenitis. HS is not an infection, but because bacteria have some role to play in fueling the disease, we often use things like antibiotics or topical antiseptics in treating it. They are somewhat helpful, at least temporarily. The problem is, once you stop those medications, everything goes back to the way it was before. You have to use those treatments carefully and in the right situation.
We sometimes use things that affect the hormonal aspect of the disease. Female patients are more likely to have it, and it often flares before menstrual cycles. We sometimes use things like birth control pills or drugs like spironolactone that block that hormonal aspect of the disease. That can be helpful in some female patients especially.
There are a handful of other older medications that are used less commonly. Probably the biggest change in the last 5 or 10 years has been the use of biologic medicines. Those treatments basically try to reduce inflammation. They help turn down the redness, the pain, and the drainage associate with the disease. Once those medicines stop, those symptoms can go back to the way they were.