The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of biopharmaceutical company AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) for treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in adults.

The drug can be used to treat active moderate to severe HS patients, who do not adequately respond to conventional systemic HS therapy.

Also called acne inversa, HS is a chronic, systemic, painful and debilitating lifetime skin disease that has no cure.

The disease causes recurrent abscesses and boil-like lumps in certain areas of the body such as the underarm and groin, and is usually painful and uncomfortable, often causing scars.

"Adalimumab is the only licensed treatment for HS."

AbbVie UK medical director Alice Butler said: "Today’s recommendation marks a very important step for patients with HS who can often suffer painful, difficult-to-heal symptoms.

"We are extremely pleased that healthcare professionals will be able to offer more options, outside of traditional treatments, which include antibiotics and steroids, to help patients manage their HS symptoms, which can often be mistaken for other skin conditions."

This recommendation will enable suitable patients in England and Wales to access adalimumab on the National Health Service (NHS).

NHS Foundation Trust Salford Royal consultant dermatologist Dr David Fitzgerald said: "Adalimumab is the only licensed treatment for HS so I’m pleased that NICE has now recommended its use so that patients across England and Wales should be able to receive it."

Adalimumab serves as the first option licensed for the treatment of active moderate to severe HS, can help reduce the number of inflammatory nodules and abscesses that appear by at least 50%. It can also reduce skin pain by a third.