In England, a major medical advance offers a monthly injection to overcome severe acne. But what is this substance that we inject?
Severe acne, also called hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) or acne inversa, is a painful skin condition that often ruins the lives of those who suffer from it. It is characterized by the formation of inflamed abscesses, cysts and severe scarring, and there are few treatment options to overcome it. But a new injection treatment is now available in England through Britain’s national health service, the NHS.
A monoclonal antibody effective on severe acne
This is secukinumab, marketed under the name Cosentyx, a monoclonal antibody already approved in the treatment of plaque psoriasis. According to the results of clinical trials, regular injection in patients would allow a significant reduction of 50% of symptoms. Treatment involves a weekly injection for the first month, then an injection every four weeks, or just once a month.
Consulted on the subject, dermatologist Marie Jourdan, member of our expert committee, explains to us how it works: “This is the treatment of Verneuil’s disease. We thus inject an anti-interleukin biotherapy, and this monoclonal antibody will block a specific interleukin involved in the inflammatory process. So it’s a great way to stop the vicious cycle of inflammation.”
A new option soon in Europe?
The method of administration remains restrictive but this option is a real relief because the majority of patients already suffer from moderate to severe forms of the disease when they are diagnosed for the first time. This illness disrupts their lives through the pain of the wounds and the impact on morale linked to this pain and the “visibility” of the illness.
“HS can have a very significant impact on patients’ lives. The pain is often intense, and patients are often faced with open wounds that require daily dressings, which can even stain their clothes. Additionally, the development of Skin scarring can cause limitations in movement and have a major impact on quality of life. explained Dr. John Ingram, consultant dermatologist at Cardiff University, to the Dailymail newspaper
Treatments are aggressive and not always effective: antibiotics, antiseptic washes, retinoids, and vitamin A-based medications are generally prescribed. When the infection progresses, surgery sometimes becomes necessary to drain abscesses and ducts. Secukinumab is the second approved monoclonal antibody after adalimumab and will now be recommended in England as an alternative.
In Europe, Cosentyx is, for the moment, only indicated in cases of plaque psoriasis in adults and children over 6 years old, juvenile arthritis and certain inflammatory rheumatisms. But this could perhaps change, if the injection proves effective among our neighbors. According to the website of the French Society of Dermatology, acne is the first reason for consultation with dermatologists, due to the psychological suffering it can cause.