Use of common alternative medicine in patients with HS

22 November 2021

1 min read


Lane J, et al. J Drugs Dermatol. 2021.doi: 10.36849 / JDD.6046.

Disclosures: Lane does not report any relevant financial disclosure. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.

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According to one study, more than a third of people with hidradenitis suppurativa reported using alternative medicine approaches, regardless of their age or the severity of the disease.

“Patients with hidradenitis suppurativa often seek treatment without a prescription” Jordan Lane, BS, BSN, of the Dermatology Research Center in the Department of Dermatology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, and colleagues wrote.

Lane and his colleagues interviewed 67 patients with HS to determine the prevalence rates of using alternative therapies. Specifically, they researched information on demographics, disease severity, and quality of life to determine the differences between patients who use alternative approaches and those who do not.

Some of the alternative approaches reported by patients included hot baths, laser hair removal, antibiotics, creams, teas, bath salts, and soaps.

Results showed that 25 patients (mean age, 36.7 years; 92% female) reported using alternative medicine, and 42 patients (mean age, 40.8 years; 88% female) reported that they hadn’t.

The time since diagnosis was shorter in patients who reported using alternative medicine compared to those who did not (12.6 years versus 14.6 years).

The use of alternative medicine was also associated with a lower quality of life, as assessed by the Dermatology Quality of Life Index. Patients who used alternative medicine had an average score of 14.1 compared to a score of 11 for non-users.

None of these differences were statistically significant, according to the results.

The researchers said the data set could be limited by the small sample size.

“The use of alternative medicine in patients with hidradenitis is common, regardless of the severity of the disease,” the researchers wrote. “Even mild illness can cause patients to seek alternative treatment. “