A scientist prepares protein samples for analysis in a lab at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A drug prescribed for the treatment of urinary incontinence has been found by Tel Aviv researchers to treat hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating – successfully.
The study was just published in the scientific journal Acta Dermatovener.
As many as 94% of patients treated with the drug, oxybutynin chloride, reported a satisfactory improvement in their condition after use, about 30% of whom described it as “significant improvement” and described sweating reduction in the treated area at an average of 20% to 75%.
Prof. Eli Sprecher, director of the department of dermatology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, said, “This is a breakthrough for the 3% of the population suffering from hyperhidrosis.”
Sufferers of excessive sweating are usually embarrassed to shake hands, and some of them have to give up jobs such as assembling electronic parts or handling other delicate objects.
Until now, they’ve had to endure several unpleasant options to treat the condition.
This includes undergoing surgery to remove excessive sweat glands, a variety of technology- based invasive procedures or having repeated Botox injections into the affected glands.
As hyperhidrosis is not officially recognized as a medical condition but rather an aesthetic problem, in most cases it’s not covered by the basket of health services, and patients have pay for existing treatments out of pocket.
A gel with a 10% concentration of the drug was used by a joint team of Sourasky’s dermatology department and the aesthetics center on 61 patients who have suffered from hyperhidrosis for more than 15 years.
The gel was applied in one sweating area – for example, a right armpit – for four weeks, while a water-based placebo gel was applied to the same area on the other side of the body.
To be effective, the gel should be applied one to two times a day. It is available at pharmacies that are able to prepare drugs, however, it is currently not included in the basket of health services for hyperhidrosis.
Dr. Ofir Arzi, who performed the study, said the substance not only treated sweating areas but also “wandered” to other sweat glands in the body through its absorption into the bloodstream.
He explained that excessive sweating occurs mostly in men and women between the ages of 18 and 54 and affects the armpit area, hands, and feet, as well as various parts of the face. In most cases, the cause is unknown.