Excessive Sweating Treatment (hyperhidrosis)
In 2004, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved BOTOX for the treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the underarms) in patients unable to obtain relief using antiperspirants.
BOTOX is produced by Allergan, Inc., of Irvine, California, and it is the most studied brand of botulinum toxin in the world. BOTOX is approved to treat a total of eight medical conditions in the United States and received its first FDA approval in 1989. Over the years it has been used to treat millions of patients with various conditions, including spasticity and movement disorders.
At least 20 countries have approved BOTOX for the treatment of underarm excessive sweating.
Botox is a natural, purified protein with the ability to temporarily block the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for “turning on” the body’s sweat glands. By blocking, or interrupting this chemical messenger, botulinum toxin “turns off” sweating at the area where it has been injected. Botox injections are very shallow, meaning that the medicine is injected just below the surface of the skin, where it remains.
Research and our doctor’s experience demonstrates that treating excessive sweating of the armpits, hands and feet is safe and effective.
When used to treat underarm excessive sweating, Botox has been shown to result in an 82-87% decrease in sweating. Results start to be noticeable approximately 2 to 4 days after treatment with the full effects usually noted within 2 weeks. Dryness typically lasts 4 to 12 months but some cases showed it can last as long as 14 months.
Repeated treatments with Botox are safe and effective for hyperhidrosis and consistently results in meaningful, long-lasting improvements in an excessive sweating patient’s symptoms, daily functioning, and quality of life. Botox treatment for hyperhidrosis has also been scientifically proven to improve on-the-job productivity.
While sweating is an essential body function for temperature-control, localized body areas house only a small percentage of the body’s sweat glands (the underarms, for instance, are home to less than 2% of the body’s sweat glands). The temporary cessation of these sweat glands’ functioning, therefore, has little to do with body thermoregulation. Compensatory sweating (sweating on other body parts) has not been found to be a concern.
In the case of palmar (hand) excessive sweating our experience shows that Botox is 80-90% effective. Repeat injections are needed after 6 months. Botox for palmar sweating may cause temporary pain and weakness in the hands.
Botox can also be used for plantar hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the feet), though patients report more pain during plantar injections and statistics indicate the treatment is less effective than when used for other body sites.
Injections can be administered in a doctor’s treatment office, require relatively little time and do not demand any restrictions in work or leisure activity (aside from refraining from intensive exercise or the use of a sauna on the day of the injections).
Three to four days of hair growth after shave prior to Botox injections, preferable.
During the procedure, a very fine needle is used to inject tiny amounts of Botox just under the skin intermittently throughout the area of excessive sweating (in a grid pattern, approximately every 1 to 2 centimeters.) Multiple injections are given based on your doctor’s assessment of the area that needs to be treated.
To easy any potential discomfort, doctor may use one or more of a number of anesthetic techniques such as ice, or local anesthesia.
After you receive Botox injections for any local area, it’s recommended that you follow-up with your doctor in 1 to 2 weeks.
This follow-up is highly useful because it enables your doctor to ‘touch-up’ any sweating areas that may have been missed during the first round of injections and ensure that you are getting the treatment’s full benefit.
Botulinum toxin injections do not cure hyperhidrosis; your symptoms will go away gradually (usually in about a week) and return gradually. Follow-up injections are required to maintain dryness.
These repeat injections may be necessary at intervals varying from 7 to 16 months.