Besides topical treatments for hyperhidrosis that can reduce sweating is particular areas of the body, there are also medicaments for oral use that can be used for limitation of perspiration. These drugs contain chemicals that affect overactive sweat glands. While other treatments are designed for local sweating, oral drugs suppress sweating at all. In this article, we are going to introduce the most common medicine for hyperhidrosis. You will find out how exactly they work and in what cases they can be recommended by a doctor.
Who Can Use Medicine For Hyperhidrosis?
Oral medicaments for hyperhidrosis are designed for people who:
- suffer from secondary generalized hyperhidrosis
- have craniofacial hyperhidrosis (excessive head sweating)
- unusefully tried other topical treatments
Secondary hyperhidrosis is a type of sweating that is caused by some other condition or medicaments is also characterized by increased perspiration that affects the entire body or its larger part. We should say that in this case, a proper diagnosis that reveals the underlying cause of sweating should be the first step. This diagnosis can be made based on symptoms that indicate a certain disease. Infections, diabetes, neurological problems, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer are typical illnesses that affect profuse sweating.
There are also conditions related to hormonal changes like menopause and pregnancy in women or andropause in men that are typical triggers of sweating. Since all these mentioned conditions and diseases lead to heavy sweating all around the body, an overall treatment with medicament seems to be a logic and proper solution.
Craniofacial hyperhidrosis is characterized by profuse sweating in the forehead, scalp, and neck. There are not so many treatment options for this location; we can mention antiperspirants and iontophoresis (some iontophoresis machines have additional adapters for the head). Cranio-facial hyperhidrosis often occurs as so-called gustatory sweating (perspiration affected by eating).
Failure of other treatments is another reason to try oral medicaments. There are several possible reasons why some patient doesn’t react well for antiperspirants, iontophoresis, or botox. In this case, a doctor can suggest a systematic treatment with oral drugs.
Types of Medicaments For Excessive Sweating
Anticholinergics for Hyperhidrosis
Anticholinergics are the most commonly used drugs for sweat reduction. Since these agents are used for several conditions like urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, they are also successfully used for treating hyperhidrosis. Some of these medicaments are also safe for children.
Anticholinergics don’t affect the nervous system. They work by interrupting the connection between a chemical messenger acetylcholine and sweat glands. It means, even the brain sends a signal to sweat glands, it doesn’t arrive. Because of this messenger has multiple functions in the body, several side effects can be experienced.
Anticholinergics side effects
Possible side effects of anticholinergics agent depend on the particular substance, percentage, doses, and health condition of a patient. Before prescribing certain pills, A physician should make an examination; look in the medical history of the patient. All these information help him/her to suggest a medicine with the less possible side effects and contraindications. These are the most common side effects of anticholinergics:
- Dry mouth
- Urinary retention
- Blurred vision
- Memory problems
- Decreased saliva
Who shouldn’t use anticholinergics
Some studies point out the relation between anticholinergics and risk of dementia in older patients. Due to these facts, people older than 65 years should discuss the taking of anticholinergics with their doctor. Since anticholinergics make harder the cooling mechanism of the body, they are not recommended for athletes and people who have physically difficult jobs. Also, patients with glaucoma and those who experience urinary retention should not use anticholinergics medicaments.
Most common anticholinergics drugs for over-all sweating
Glycopyrrolate and Oxybutynin for hyperhidrosis
Glycopyrrolate is the most commonly prescribed drug for hyperhidrosis. It is because this chemical affects fewer side effects. Daily use of this medicament can significantly reduce the amount of sweat. Glycopyrrolate can be used also by kids when a physician recommends it. According to the study published in NCBI, 75% of patient with several types of primary hyperhidrosis recorded a significant decrease in perspiration. 36.1% of attendants experienced side effects that have mild character. Oral dryness, palpitations, and headache were the most common ones.
Glycopyrrolate oral solution called Cuvposa is a new medicine designed for children with hyperhidrosis. FDA approved this medicine for children in ages 3 – 16, which gives physicians a reasonable solution for youngest patients. It is a flavored fluid that is easily applicable and easier to adjust the proper dose.
Oxybutynin is another typical drug for people with hyperhidrosis. Some studies show that this medicine works well on a patient with axillary or palmoplantar hyperhidrosis but also for those who sweat more all over the body (secondary hyperhidrosis). The response for this medicine was good among different groups of the patient regardless of gender, age or weight.
Topical use of anticholinergics
While anticholinergics tablets are used for over-all sweat reduction, there are also ways how they stop topical sweating. Qbrexza is a name for relatively new treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis (sweaty armpits). Wipes medicated with anticholinergics (glycopyrronium tosylate) are applied directly to the underarms. Unlike oral drugs, a topical application is not so burdening the body and minimalizes side effects.
Anticholinergics can also improve the results of iontophoresis treatment for sweaty hands and feet. Iontophoresis uses a mild electrical current that acts through tap water to the hands or feet. Adding glycopyrronium bromide or glycopyrrolate to the water can bring a better effect.
Alfa and Beta-blockers
A patient who has secondary hyperhidrosis caused by anxiety or depression can limit sweating by a certain antidepressant. Beta-blockers like propranolol or benzodiazepines affect the nervous system and suppress the physical effects of anxiety-induced sweat and stress sweating.
Alfa blocker clonidine (Catapre) is a sympathetic inhibitor that is usually used for treating hypertension, but since it affects a thermoregulation process, it can be prescribed to people who sweat abnormally. Mostly is used for reducing forehead and scalp sweating (craniofacial hyperhidrosis).