Metformin for the treatment of hidradenitis: a little help along the way

Verdolini R, Clayton N, Smith A, Alwash N, Mannello B.


Department of Dermatology, Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS trust, Harlow, Essex, and Department of Dermatology, The Royal London Hospital, London, UK Mannello Statistics, Via Rodi, Ancona, Italy.



Background:  Despite recent insights into its aetiology, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) remains an intractable and debilitating condition for its sufferers, affecting an estimated 2% of the population.


It is characterized by chronic, relapsing abscesses, with accompanying fistula formation within the apocrine glandbearing skin, such as the axillae, ano-genital areas and breasts.


Standard treatments remain ineffectual and the disease often runs a chronic relapsing course associated with significant psychosocial trauma for its sufferers.


Objective:  To evaluate the clinical efficacy of Metformin in treating cases of HS which have not responded to standard therapies.


Methods:  Twenty-five patients were treated with Metformin over a period of 24 weeks. Clinical severity of the disease was assessed at time 0, then after 12 weeks and finally after 24 weeks.


Results:  Were evaluated using Sartorius and DLQI scores.


Results:  Eighteen patients clinically improved with a significant average reduction in their Sartorius score of 12.7 and number of monthly work days lost reduced from 1.5 to 0.4. Dermatology life quality index (DLQI) also showed a significant improvement in 16 cases, with a drop in DLQI score of 7.6.


Conclusion:  Metformin helps control HS with minimal side effects and good patient compliance and can represent a further agent in the spectrum of treatments available in the treatment of this disease.


© 2012 The Authors. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology © 2012 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.



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