Background Intramuscular human immunoglobulin (HIG) may provide a therapeutic option as an independent or combined treatment for recalcitrant suppurative skin diseases such as hidradenitis suppurativa, folliculitis decalvans, or chronic recurrent furunculosis or folliculitis.
Objectives To define the efficacy and safety of intramuscular HIG for chronic and recalcitrant suppurative skin diseases.
Methods Patients who had received HIG for hidradenitis suppurativa, folliculitis decalvans, furunculosis or folliculitis at Severance Hospital, Seoul, Korea, between January 2000 and May 2005 were identified from medical/pharmacy records. All records were analysed retrospectively.
Results Sixty-three patients were identified. After treatment, 37 patients (59%) showed overall improvement and were rated as having an ‘excellent response’ or ‘good response’ by the attending physician. No improvement or worsening was seen in only three patients (5%). A period without new lesions (PWNL) was achieved in 46 patients (73%). The number of times HIG was administered to achieve PWNL ranged from 1 to 12 (mean ± SD 2·15 ± 1·69). There was no significant difference in the rating score between the independent intramuscular HIG and the combined treatment groups. Pain at the injection site was the major side-effect, which led to the discontinuation of treatment in five patients. No other significant systemic side-effects were observed.
Conclusions Our results demonstrate that intramuscular HIG may be used for the treatment of recalcitrant suppurative skin diseases as an independent or combined treatment.