Hydradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. The UK prevalence is estimated at between 1-4%. There is an approximate 3:1 female: male preponderance and it is associated with smoking, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus. The pathogenesis of HS is poorly understood. Clinical features vary in extent and the axillae, inguinal and anogenital areas are typically affected. It has a significant impact on quality of life, with high rates of depression amongst sufferers.

Current UK treatment guidelines focus on lifestyle interventions, as well as targeted use of oral antibiotics, however microbiological sampling is usually not helpful. Where these are unsuccessful anti-TNF agents and surgical intervention may be indicated. Despite their absence from these guidelines, there is growing evidence to support the role of intravenous (IV) antibiotics in treating HS. It is not known whether the treatment response seen with IV antibiotics is due to their antibacterial or an anti-inflammatory effect. We present a series of HS patients managed under the OPAT team at University Hospitals of Leicester.


To date 8 patients have completed treatment (7F/1M). All received at least 6 weeks of therapy with IV ertapenem (+/- teicoplanin). Significant improvement in both clinical signs and symptoms was achieved in all cases. However, disease relapse was seen in three cases after cessation of IVs, requiring additional courses of treatment. Antibiotics were well tolerated with one adverse drug reaction secondary to teicoplanin.


Intravenous antibiotics are an effective adjunctive treatment in selected cases of hidradenitis suppurativa.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error