Do you sweat too much? Do your palms slide off of door handles because they are drenched in sweat? Do you constantly sweat through your clothes? Has the quality of your life been negatively impacted due to excessive sweating?
These types of situations are typical of a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. If home remedies or over-the-counter antiperspirants do not help stop your sweating, it might be time to seek the advice of a medical professional. One of the medical treatments your doctor may discuss is oral medication for hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis is a health condition that can cause you to sweat four to five times more than the average person. It falls into one of two categories:
In preparation for your doctor’s visit, you may find it helpful to learn more about the common types of oral medication for excessive sweating. Your doctor will inform you about the full range of potential side effects, as well as dosing recommendations. Most of the oral medication used to treat hyperhidrosis is considered “off label.” This simply means the medication is used to treat a condition other than its original intended purpose.
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 options for oral medication to treat hyperhidrosis. With the guidance of your doctor, you may find a medication that relieves your most troubling symptoms. There are also other medical options available. Botox, prescription antiperspirants, miraDry and iontophoresis are viable treatments, depending on your symptoms.
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This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
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