Reduction in severe skin condition with promising new treatment

A clinical trial conducted across 40 countries has found an existing drug called Secukinumab can improve the condition of patients who have a severe and debilitating skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa.

A book on a doctor's desk with the title 'Hidradenitis Suppurativa

The trial demonstrated that Secukinumab rapidly provides patients with pain relief, and reduces boils and abscess formation by more than 50%.

Secukinumab is used to treat conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints that is often accompanied by psoriasis.

Rodney Sinclair, Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and lead investigator in Australia for the trial, said that the use of Secukinumab has the potential to change clinical practice in hidradenitis suppurativa, by offering patients a new effective, sustainable and safe treatment option.

“We know that hidradenitis suppurativa is a difficult to treat disease,” Professor Sinclair said. “It is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that often begins in adolescence and is characterised by painful boil in the armpits and groin. The boils discharge foul smelling pus when they burst and eventually lead to scarring.”

“Unfortunately, hidradenitis suppurativa is often under-recognised, resulting in delays in diagnosis and treatments. Pain can be debilitating, and patients often find it hard to walk or even sit.”

Professor Sinclair said Hidradenitis suppurativa is notaninfection related to poor hygiene.

“Hidradenitis suppurativa occurs when the body’s immune system produces an increased amount of IL-17A,” Professor Sinclair said.

Secukinumab blocks the action of IL-17A in the body, reducing the inflammation and other symptoms caused by the increased amount of IL-17A.

The trial demonstrated that Secukinumab rapidly provides patients with pain relief, reduces boils and abscess formation by more than 50% and as a result will reduce disfiguring and debilitating scarring.  For many of the patients enrolled in the trial, the treatment has been life changing and a real breakthrough compared to previous treatments.

Patients with early disease tend to do best.  Some patients with advanced Hidradenitis suppurativa, especially those with pre-existing scarring will have to combine Secukinumab with adjuvant treatments such as anti-biotics to achieve full symptom control.

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Annie Rahilly

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