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G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Apr;150(2):155-62. Epub 2014 Jun 13.

Alitretinoin: a useful agent in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa, especially in women of child-bearing age.

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Department of Dermatology, The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Essex, UK -



Despite a better insight into its pathogenesis, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) remains very frustrating to treat. Acitretin has been described as one of the agents with the highest effective profile. Acitretin however, due to its teratogenicity and prolonged half-life (up to three years) is not an option in young women of fertile age who, unfortunately, are the target of this disease. Alitretinoin has a similar pharmacology action to acitretin, but much shorter half-life (only four weeks), making it a far much more attractive option compared to acitretin for women of child-bearing age. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the use of alitretinoin in treating recalcitrant cases of HS, which have not been responsive to standard treatments.


Fourteen patients (all female, of child-bearing age), who persistently failed traditional treatments, were treated with alitretinoin 10 mg/day for 24 weeks. The disease trend was evaluated by using both Sartorius and Dermatology Life Quality Index scores at time 0, at week 12 and at week 24.


A significant improvement was recorded in 78.5% of the cases.


Although more studies are necessary, this preliminary study shows that alitretinoin may have a role in the treatment of HS specifically in women of fertile age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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