Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can cause pain and scarring.
Researchers have known about HS for many years, but there is still a lot to learn about the condition and how to successfully treat it.
There is currently no cure for HS. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, treatment tends to focus on:
- removing or reducing the appearance of breakouts
- preventing new breakouts
- removing scars and tunnels that form beneath the skin
Effective treatment can vary from person to person. Researchers are continuing to look into new medications that may better treat HS.
Keep reading for more information on investigational drugs and how to get on a registry for future studies.
Investigational drugs, or experimental drugs, are new medications that researchers are examining. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), during a clinical trial, researchers try to prove or show the following:
- how the drug might affect a disease or condition
- whether or not the drug is safe and effective
- the potential benefits versus risks of the drug
- how much of the drug a person will need for it to be effective
The FDA also recommend that people think about several questions before agreeing to a clinical trial investigating a new drug. These questions include:
- Is the clinical trial site nearby?
- What is the drug, and what is the study for?
- Has the person already tried existing drugs to help with HS?
- How much do researchers already know about the drug?
Scientists have been conducting studies on several investigational drugs. Some that have shown promising results for HS include:
- Metformin: According to one study of 53 individuals, 68% saw a clinical response and 19% had their HS symptoms become inactive.
- Apremilast: A case report of two people with HS and psoriatic arthritis who tried this treatment saw improvements in their symptoms.
- Intralesional triamcinolone: A combination of this corticosteroid plus antibiotics led to improvements among people with HS.
Additional treatments currently undergoing research include:
- MABp1 (bermekimab)
Still, more research is necessary to determine the effectiveness of these treatments for HS.
As of July 2020, the Aurora study is still recruiting participants. The study is evaluating a new drug, called avacopan, for treating moderate-to-severe HS.
According to information in its registry, the study is looking for people:
- who are at least 18 years of age
- who have received a diagnosis of HS at Hurley stage 2 or 3
- who have at least three inflammatory lesions
- who have lesions that appear in two different areas of the body
- whose condition has stopped responding to antibiotic treatment
Women who join the study cannot be pregnant. They also need to take steps to avoid becoming pregnant during the study.
If a person meets the above criteria, they should talk to their doctor about the possibility of entering this study.
Currently, there are more than 100 different clinical trials that the U.S. National Library of Medicine are offering. Before signing up for a study, a person should talk to their healthcare provider. They can go over the risks associated with participating in a study.
Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, give the following advice to those who wish to participate in clinical trials:
- Talk to a treating doctor to see if any of their colleagues are conducting any upcoming trials for medications.
- Listen to advertisements about clinical trials.
- Check out CenterWatch, a database of available studies.
- Search for trials through ResearchMatch.
- Search for trials using the government site at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Once a person finds a study they want to participate in, they will need to follow the directions the researchers provide to sign up.
There are several clinical trials that are either coming up or ongoing for HS treatment. Individuals can visit www.clinicaltrials.gov to search for HS-related studies.
A person should talk to their doctor before signing up for a study. They may be able to provide information on an upcoming study or make additional suggestions regarding the safety and potential effectiveness of joining a study.