Can finasteride help control hidradenitis suppurativa in women?

Can finasteride help control hidradenitis suppurativa in women?

March 9, 2023

Article: Can finasteride help control hidradenitis suppurativa in women?

Citation:  Babbush KM, Andriano TM, Cohen SR. Antiandrogen therapy in hidradenitis suppurativa: finasteride for females. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2022;47(1):86-92. doi:10.1111/ced.14847

Research Summary by Faris Alkhouri, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

Photo Credit: Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on unsplash

What is the purpose of this research?

Hormones, like testosterone, have been shown to influence Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Finasteride is a hormone blocker most commonly used to treat hair loss and prostate enlargement in men. Medicines like spironolactone and finasteride can regulate hormones in diseases like acne and HS. This study looked at finasteride as a treatment option for adult women with HS.

How was the project done?

The study team called a total of 20 adult female patients with HS who were treated with finasteride at a dose of 5mg daily from their clinic in New York. They asked patients to rate their satisfaction with finasteride overall, how it changed their HS-related quality of life, how it helped their HS, and side effects associated with finasteride.

What did the study find?

At the same time as taking finasteride, 95% of patients were using antibiotics applied to the skin, 60% using antibiotics taken by mouth, and 55% using a biologic treatment. Most of the patients (18 out of 20) started finasteride because they did not tolerate spironolactone side effects.

Almost all patients (18 out of 20) were willing to take finasteride again or to continue with finasteride. Ten patients reported overall satisfaction with finasteride, while 7 were neutral, and 3 were dissatisfied. No patients reported worsening disease while on finasteride, but 1 patient reported negative impact on quality of life. Most patients (16/20) reported no side effects. The 4 with side effects described nausea, menstrual irregularity, headache, breast tenderness, or reduced sex drive.

What are the limitations and main takeaways from this study?

This study had a small number of patients, which means the results may not be the same for everyone. The findings do suggest that finasteride is a safe and effective treatment for HS in women, especially if someone cannot tolerate spironolactone.