Conference Coverage

Major increase in hidradenitis suppurativa cases anticipated



– Once thought to be a rare disease and largely neglected as a focus of research, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is now the target of more research funding that is expected to lead to better treatments and increase the number of patients seeking care, according to an expert interview conducted at the annual meeting of the Society for Investigational Dermatology.

“For decades ... we’ve really not understood how prevalent it is,” said Haley B. Naik, MD, of the department of dermatology at University of California, San Francisco, in a video interview. “Now, thanks to great population-based studies and new data, we know that HS is common and hugely impacts the lives of the people who suffer with this condition.”

Recapping some of the highlights of an update on this chronic inflammatory skin condition that she presented at the meeting, Dr. Naik said that HS has been mischaracterized as rare. Many patients, embarrassed by the symptoms or failing to receive adequate relief from previous health care encounters, are not currently seeking care.

This will change as treatments improve, according to Dr. Naik, who asserted that HS has become a hot topic. Progress in understanding the underlying pathophysiology has been driving new management strategies. She counted more than 15 clinical trials being conducted with new agents for this disease in a survey.

In the interview, Dr. Naik calls on dermatologists to increase their awareness of the signs and symptoms of HS so that they can diagnose and intervene earlier, a step that will be made easier as new therapies become available.

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