The Henry Ford Hospital participants were part of an international team of dermatology experts that have published for the first time in North America guidelines for diagnosing and managing hidradenitis (HS)suppurativa, the chronic and debilitating skin disease with currently no cure.
TrialSite News is very committed to the patient HS community. We engage frequently with various groups and have found that patients are truly struggling with this debilitating condition. Our main focus is investigational therapies (with an eye out continuously for a potential cure), but we also applaud this recent effort for a standard diagnosis.
As the Henry Ford press release declared, HS has a stigmatizing effect on individual’s socioeconomic status, mental health and overall quality of life. An estimated 1% to 4% of the world’s population struggles with HS.
These guidelines were recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology to provide doctors, nurses and other health practitioners a roadmap for how to identify and treat HS, which for years has been misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.
Not a Standard of Care
These guidelines are not a standard of care, noted the authors. Moreover, care of the HS patient is guided by both the physician and the patient—each and every patient brings unique attributes and characteristics that must be factored in to any care plan.
The guidelines are segmented into two parts including 1) covering epidemiology, diagnosis, surgical treatment and pain management strategies and 2) topical medicines, antibiotics and biologic therapies.
Henry Ford Participants
Iltefat Hamzavi, MD, a Henry Ford dermatologist and an international HS expert and Angela Miller, clinical research manager in dermatology helped write the guidelines. Dr. Hamzavi is the director of Henry Ford’s HS clinic, which sees one of the largest HS patient populations in North America.
Hope for HS Founded by Henry Ford Team Member
Ms. Miller, as a clinical research manager for a large system such as Henry Ford, has specialized in HS and truly has seen a lot of this difficult condition. With an understanding of all that patients must deal with she founded “Hope for HS,” a HS support group that meets regulatory at Henry Ford. Miller also serves as national coordinator of advocacy and support for the HS Foundation.
Key Guideline Highlights
The Henry Ford press release included highlights of some of the guidelines. They included:
- HS severity is classified by a method called Hurley staging. It has three stages, stage III being the most severe.
- Numerous comorbidities associated with HS including metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. HS patients often benefit from therapy and other ways to cope with the mental stress it can cause
- Surgical options (lasering, excision and deroofing, etc.)
- Certain biologic medications and antibiotics (although as TrialSite News can attest HS patients must really do their homework).
- Laser hair removal treatment developed at Henry Ford (can be effective for state II and III).
Henry Ford, of course, calls for a multidisciplinary team approach—coordinated care management that treats the whole person. TrialSite News engages with HS community and can attest this is a strong, important patient population that has struggled long enough. It is time for research dollars, research community, and commercial sponsors to drive the next generation of progress for treatments toward an eventual cure.