Updated: Jun 30
We all know how confusing and frustrating the HS treatment journey can be. This article will cover the most common treatment options offered for HS. There are multiple treatment options for HS, but they do not have to include antibiotics or Accutane. We acknowledge that there are alternative and natural treatments for HS, however, in this article we will be covering only the pharmaceutical options in this article.
We understand that in most countries, including the US and UK, antibiotics and Accutane may be the first treatments offered for HS, but please remember it is your body and your choice. Neither antibiotics or Accutane should be taken long term. Please review the suggestions below which may be an option for you or present options you may not have been made aware of in the past.
Click on the following links to read additional articles regarding Psychiatric Events with Accutane and Accutane and HS as well as Overprrescribing Antibiotics, Antibiotic Epidemic, and Antibiotic Use: Why They Do & Don't Work
These are also known as kenalog, triamcinolone and kenacort injections. These injections are done directly into your affected HS areas.
Click here to read additional information regarding Kenalog or Steroid Injections.
Botox injections may help with inflammation and those who have problems with sweating.
Click here to read additional information regarding Botox Injections.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS (prescription and non-prescription)
Low dose naltrexone (LDN)
OFF LABEL PRESCRIPTIONS
If your HS is not hormone-related you can consider the following, however, we advise you to discuss with your physician as these can make your HS worse if hormones are not a trigger/issue for you.
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug, also used as an alternative to steroids, and can be prescribed off label for hidradenitis.
Click here to read additional information regarding Hormones as a Trigger.
PRESCRIPTION RETINOL CREAMS
Hidradenitis is not acne; these types of creams can cause irritation and are not recommended for daily use.
Tretinoin (Retin-A, generic)
Tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac)
PRESCRIPTION STEROID CREAMS
These types of creams and ointment are most beneficial for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Clobetasol propionate 0.05% (Temovate)
Halobetasol propionate 0.05% (Ultravate cream, ointment, lotion)
Diflorasone diacetate 0.05% (Psorcon ointment)
Betamethasone dipropionate 0.25% (Diprolene ointment, gel)
Topical Steroid Class II - considered highly potent:
Fluocinonide 0.05% (Lidex cream, gel, ointment, solution)
Halcinonide 0.1% (Halog cream, ointment, solution)
Amcinonide 0.1% (Cyclocort ointment)
Desoximetasone 0.25% (Topicort cream, ointment)
Topical Steroid Class III - considered potent:
Amcinonide 0.1% (Cyclocort cream, lotion)
Mometasone furoate 0.1% (Elocon ointment)
Fluticasone propionate 0.005% (Cutivate ointment)
Betamethasone dipropionate 0.05% (Betanate cream)
Triamcinolone acetonide 0.5% (Kenalog cream, ointment)
Topical Steroid Class IV - moderately potent:
Fluocinolone acetonide 0.025% (Synalar cream, ointment)
Flurandrenolide 0.05% (Cordran cream, ointment, lotion)
Triamcinolone acetonide 0.1% (Triderm cream, ointment, lotion)
Mometasone furoate 0.1% (Elocon cream, lotion, solution)
Fluticasone propionate 0.05% (Cutivate cream)
Topical Steroid Class V - somewhat potent:
Hydrocortisone valerate 0.2% (Westcort cream, ointment)
Hydrocortisone butyrate 0.1% (Locoid ointment)
Prednicarbate 0.1% (Dermatop cream, ointment)
Hydrocortisone probutate 0.1% (Pandel cream)
Topical Steroid Class VI - considered mild:
Desonide 0.05% (LoKara lotion)
Desonate gel, Desowen cream, ointment)
Fluocinolone acetonide 0.025% (Synalar cream, solution, shampoo)
Hydrocortisone butyrate 0.1% (Locoid cream, lotion, solution)
Topical Steroid Class VII - considered least potent:
Hydrocortisone 2.5% (Hytone cream/lotion)
Hydrocortisone 1% (Many over-the-counter brands of creams, ointments, lotions)
Hydrocortisone acetate 0.5% and 1% (Anusol-HC)
Proctocream-HC, Proctosol HC cream)
Steroid free creams:
Topical antibiotic creams should be avoided, and if prescribed, please use in moderation. Please click here to read more about The Detriment & Overuse of Antibacterial Products.
If you have staphylococcus aureus, which can happen with HS and with some people chronically, Gladskin may help. This product works if staphylococcus aureus is present. It can be purchased over-the-counter or online. Prior to using this product you should get confirmation from your doctor that staphylococcus is present aureus or it may not work.
BIOLOGICS FOR MODERATE-TO-SEVERE HS
Humira (the only FDA approved biologic for HS)
Below is a list of other biologics that can be discussed with your doctor should Humira or Remicade not work for you. At this time Humira is the only FDA-approved biologic for hidradenitis, anything else would be prescribed as off-label.
Click here to read more about Biologics & What to Expect.
The two options below should be used as a last resort as they are very potent and should be considered only if your HS is severe and you have exhausted all other treatments, including biologics. These options are used in conjunction with a biologic so be sure to discuss this with your physician.
Please note if you are on a biologic treatment, all of the above options above could potentially be added to your biologic treatment. Always discuss all options with your physician for your personal case of HS.
These are typical treatment suggestions for HS, we do not promote or endorse any pharmaceutical drugs. This article is to help HS patients better understand options and choices available to them. Please always discuss all treatment options with your physician to develop a plan for your personal case.
Additional resources for treatment set forth by Hidradenitis Suppurativa Decision Aid by Windsor Clinical Research Inc. can be found here.
Please also refer to our Wound Care for all Stages of HS Article which can be read here for additional information.
Content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you have read on this website.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 US or 999 UK immediately. A list of all emergency numbers, by country, can be found here.
This is an awareness article for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider.
Written by Denise Panter-Fixsen
Edited by Brindley Kons