Primary care management of hidradenitis suppurativa: a cross-sectional survey of UK GPs.
Collier F., Howes R., Rodrigues J., Thomas K., Leighton P., Ingram J.
BACKGROUND: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease which causes painful discharging nodules and skin tunnels. HS has associations with several systemic diseases, including cardiovascular (CV) disease and anxiety-depression. High levels of chronic morbidity suggest an important role for Primary Care. However, little evidence exists regarding current management of HS and its co-morbidities in UK General Practice. AIM: To describe current practice amongst UK GPs in treating and referring people with HS DESIGN & SETTING: Web-based survey circulated to UK Primary Care Dermatology Society members and GPs in Forth Valley, Scotland. METHOD: Survey responses were analysed with descriptive statistics. RESULTS: 134 UK GPs completed the survey. 71% (n=94) saw at least one patient with HS in the previous month. 94% (n=125) reported confidence in diagnosis, and 87% (n=120) in initial treatment of HS. Most GPs initiated topical treatments and extended courses of oral antibiotic for HS, and many advised regarding adverse lifestyle factors. A minority provided analgesia, or screening for CV disease risk factors and anxiety-depression. Most GPs referred to Dermatology if Secondary Care input was required, with few referrals to specialised multi-disciplinary services. CONCLUSION: GPs regularly diagnose and manage uncomplicated HS, but screening for important co-morbidities associated with HS is not common practice.