If you are struggling with excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, you may feel like you’ve tried everything to get your sweating under control. You've tried OTC antiperspirants, changed your diet, and even adjusted your wardrobe – to no avail. You may wonder if it is time to consider hyperhidrosis medication to curb your sweating.
Luckily, medicine is here to help; there are new treatments excessive sweating (also called hyperhidrosis). now available. The list of hyperhidrosis medication includes prescription antiperspirants, medicated cloths, and oral medication. Read on to learn about these medication options before consulting your doctor.
This post was originally published in April 2020, and was updated in May 2021.
There are several types of medication for excessive sweating your doctor may prescribe. They fall into two categories: topical and oral medications.
Prescription-strength antiperspirants are even more powerful than the clinical-strength antiperspirants you can get online or from a drug store. Your doctor may first recommend a prescription-strength antiperspirant since it is the least invasive medical treatment for hyperhidrosis.
The most common active ingredient is aluminum chloride hexahydrate; and it ranges in concentration from 10% to 30%. Prescription-strength antiperspirants are most commonly used to treat excessive sweating of the underarms, hands, feet, and sometimes the face.
The most common side effect is skin irritation.
Newcomer QBREXZA comes in the form of a medicated wipe to treat excessive underarm sweating or axillary hyperhidrosis. (QBREXZA is the Dermira hyperhidrosis drug formerly known as DRM04.)
This topical hyperhidrosis treatment differs from traditional medications because it is applied directly where the sweat occurs, instead of being ingested. The non-invasive, once-a-day medicated wipe works by blocking receptors that activate sweat glands.
The most common side effects of QBREXZA may include burning, stinging, or redness of your underarms, and dry mouth.
Anticholinergics have been found to successfully treat hyperhidrosis in some patients. This class of drugs was originally designed for other ailments like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and overactive bladder.
Anticholinergics work by blocking acetylcholine, which is a chemical messenger that sets off involuntary muscle movements and various bodily functions, like sweating. Because anticholinergics don’t target one specific area of the body, they work by decreasing sweat from the entire body.
Also known as Robinul, glycopyrrolate is prescribed primarily to treat peptic ulcer disease and/or reduce uncontrolled saliva production. As such, the most notable side effect is dry mouth.
Oxybutynin, also known as Ditropan, can be used as an anti-sweat medicine, though it is primarily used to treat overactive bladder issues. Like Glycopyrrolate, one of the main side effects is dry mouth.
Benztropine is another “off-label” anti-sweat medication. It is primarily used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, though it is also known to decrease sweating. Dry mouth and drowsiness are common side effects.
Propantheline, while primarily used to treat ulcers, is another oral medicine for hyperhidrosis. It is one of the more commonly used medications for excessive sweating. Dry mouth and light sensitivity are common side effects.
Beta blockers and benzodiazepines come from another class of drugs that can be used as oral medication for excessive sweating. They work on the central nervous system to stop or block the physical symptoms of anxiety. Beta blockers and benzodiazepines are particularly effective treat hyperhidrosis caused by stressful situations or anxiety-provoking events.
While Propanolol is used primarily for high blood pressure or irregular heartbeat, it is also effective in treating situational sweating caused by anxiety. The most common side effects include fatigue and dizziness.
In addition to the aforementioned solutions for sweating, there are a few more oral medications your doctor may recommend.
Another good option for oral hyperhidrosis medications is indomethacin. While it is mostly used to relieve pain and inflammation, it has shown positive results in treating excessive sweating. Upset stomach and drowsiness are common side effects.
Gabapentin is primarily used to help patients with seizures. It can also be an effective oral medication for hyperhidrosis. Common side effects are dizziness and drowsiness.
Clonidine is prescribed primarily to treat high blood pressure, though it’s been found to be an effective oral medication for sweating. In addition to dry mouth, cloudy thinking is also a potential side effect.
Certain antidepressants can help to reduce sweat in two ways. They can work on a chemical level to decrease sweat gland activity. They can also help to lower anxiety, which is helpful for people who suffer from situational or stress sweating. Side effects vary, depending on the specific antidepressant your doctor prescribes.
As you can see, there are plenty of medication options to treat hyperhidrosis. With the guidance of your doctor, you may find a medication that relieves your most troubling symptoms.
Consult your doctor for guidance about the type(s) of hyperhidrosis treatment that may be right for you. In addition, the International Hyperhidrosis Society website has information about new medical advances or clinical trials for hyperhidrosis medication and medical treatments.
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