A pilot study published in the journal "Dermatology" shows that zinc salts can provide an effective treatment for Verneuil's disease (hidradenitis suppurativa).
Verneuil's disease is a chronic, suppurative dermatosis involving the apocrine glands with a severe impact on the quality of life. There is no standard treatment for this disease, and the drugs usually prescribed are often poorly effective. Therefore, a new therapeutic approach based on zinc salts was investigated with 22 patients, mainly from grade I or II in Hurley's clinical staging. All patients included had previously been prescribed a treatment (antibiotic, isotretinoin, surgery or anti-androgens), which was inefficient. The patients were treated with 90 mg of zinc gluconate per day (15 mg zinc, 6 times per day).
A clinical response in all patients was observed, with 8 complete remissions and 14 partial remissions. When complete remission was obtained, the treatment was progressively decreased; however, relapses occurred when reaching 2-4 capsules per day, depending on the severity of the disease. Recurrence disappeared when the dosage was increased again, suggesting that the treatment is suppressive rather than curative. The treatment was well tolerated (4/22 patients experiencing side-effects, mainly gastro-intestinal), and this is crucial in the context of a chronic disease strongly affecting quality of life.