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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 Dec;39(6):971-4.

Topical clindamycin versus systemic tetracycline in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa.

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Department of Dermatology, Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.



Antibiotics are often used to treat hidradenitis, but only topical clindamycin has been shown to be effective in a randomized controlled trial. The paucity of these trials may be the result of difficulties in disease assessment.


We compare topical clindamycin with systemic tetracycline in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa, and study clinical disease assessment.


A total of 46 patients with stage 1 or 2 hidradenitis suppurativa were treated in a double-blind, double dummy controlled trial.


No significant difference was found between the two types of treatment. Patients' global assessment of disease was significantly worse than physician's assessment in 3 of 5 evaluations (P = .0096 to .015), but the correlation between patients' and physicians' assessments was satisfactory after only one visit (rs = .761 to .895). Soreness was the key factor in patients' overall assessment of the disease.


Systemic therapy with tetracyclines did not show better results than topical therapy with clindamycin. Subjective factors, particularly soreness, appear to be a key factor in patients' assessment of the disease and should, therefore, be included as an outcome variable in future therapy studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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