Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis treatments are widely available, but a considerable number of patients aren’t receiving treatment, researchers reported recently at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Summer Meeting.
Nearly 5% of the U.S. population has hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, and despite the numerous treatments available, about half put off treatment for a decade or longer, notes Maral Skelsey, MD, of Georgetown University in Washington.
There are several treatment methods available for hyperhidrosis, Skelsey states. Some include the recently approved prescription topical wipes — glycopyrronium (Qbrexza) — for armpit sweat in those 9 years and older, prescription or over-the counter clinical-strength antiperspirants for use at night, and botulinum toxin (Botox) injections to the hands and armpits.
Many of these treatments are tools that providers already have in their offices and are familiar with, Skelsey emphasizes.
Clinicians should customize treatments to fit each patient’s need, share tools for support, refer patients for screening for anxiety and depression, and be aware of comorbidities, Skelsey notes.
“Dermatologists are uniquely qualified to increase awareness among patients and colleagues that hyperhidrosis is a medical, treatable condition,” she says.
The condition can have negative effects on quality of life, similar to that reported with psoriasis or severe acne, and patients with hyperhidrosis often suffer in their personal and professional lives, Skelsey comments. In her presentation, she noted that 30% of patients report frustration with daily activities and 59% report difficulty developing personal relationships.
Depression and anxiety are much more prevalent among hyperhidrosis patients compared to those without hyperhidrosis, regardless of demographic factors, she adds. One study reported that 63% of patients were unhappy or depressed.
“I am struck by how much patients with hyperhidrosis suffer and how little awareness there is that this is a medical condition, that there is treatment for it,” Skelsey shares.
“I hope that [dermatologists] address this concern with patients and bring it up to them, and understand that there are a host of things that they can do to treat these people and give them a better quality of life,” she continues.
Diagnostic criteria for primary hyperhidrosis include localized excessive sweating for 6 months or longer for an unknown reason and at least two of the following: occurring at least once each week, younger age at onset (