Objective To evaluate the safety and efficacy of etanercept for the management of hidradenitis suppurativa.
Methods In a prospective open-label phase II study, etanercept was administered subcutaneously in a dose of 50 mg once weekly for 12 weeks in 10 patients. They were followed up to 24 weeks and their disease activity and Sartorius score were assessed, with also a self-evaluation by visual analogue scale (VAS). Disease activity was an assessment of the extent of the disease by the attending physicians who were unaware of the protocol.
Results A > 50% score improvement was found in six patients at week 12 and in seven patients at week 24. The VAS was decreased compared with baseline in seven patients at week 12 and in six patients at week 24. All changes were statistically significant. All patients reported a decrease of local pain at the site of lesions after week 4. Drainage of pus from the affected areas recurred in eight patients within 4–8 weeks after the end of administration of etanercept. The treatment was well-tolerated.
Conclusions Etanercept is a safe and effective therapy for hidradenitis suppurativa and decreases the extent of the disease and improves the quality of life. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is required to elucidate fully the role of etanercept for hidradenitis suppurativa.