Only recently (July 2015), the European Commission and the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has approved a novel drug for Hidradenitis suppurativa/Acne inversa (HS). It is the first and only approved drug for HS. HS is a chronic inflammatory disease which is characterized by recurrent, painful abscesses leading also to psychological impairment. Until now, topical antiseptic treatment, surgery and antibiotic treatment were the only treatment options available. The new drug is a so called monoclonal antibody which blocks the tumor necrosis faktor alpha (TNF alpha).
TNF alpha is a cell signaling protein or cytokine which is involved in inflammatory diseases by binding to its receptor. Consequently, blocking this receptor leads to inhibition of inflammations (but also immunologic functions). So far, this drug has been used to treat other chronic inflammatory diseases such as chronic arthritis, psoriasis arthritis, psoriasis of the skin, morbus crohn and cholitis ulcerosa.
With this new therapy, a significant reduction of painful nodules could be observed in placebo controlled studies. However, inactive infectious diseases, e.g. hepatitis, tuberculosis or HIV but also cancer must be excluded before treatment. Severe aggravation of previously inactive or latent infectious diseases have been reported. Also the use of live vaccines are not recommended while using a TNF alpha blocker.
Declaration of (no) conflict of interest
There is no conflict of interest to declare. Neither Dr. Okamoto nor members of his office has contributed nor been sponsored by any companies. This article has not received any funding of any party and reflects the intention to inform readers.
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