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    2017’s big breakthroughs

     

    A better understanding of hyperhidrosis

    “I have a particular interest in hyperhidrosis, and have been treating these patients for over 20 years. What I’m most excited about for 2017 is that we were really beginning to understand more fully how prominent this condition is and just how great the impact is on the patients who suffer with it,” according to Dee Anna Glaser, M.D., professor and interim chairman of dermatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

    Dr. Glaser’s original paper on the topic was published in 2004.

    Dr. Glaser“We surveyed 1,500 people and found out that the prevalence was around 2.8 percent. That didn’t really match up to what was being reported in other countries, like in Canada, Europe and Asia,” she says. “Another study we did more recently, which was published in 2016, showed that it was closer to 5 percent, at about 4.8 percent prevalence. And that really aligns with what other metropolitan areas in other countries, on other continents, have been describing.”

    Dr. Glaser and colleagues also found that sweating symptom severity does not improve with age. Rather it stays constant or get worse and bothers people throughout the year.

    The U.S. research, she says, suggests years of underestimating the impact of hyperhidrosis.

    “That’s important because a lot of insurance companies have been denying this because they thought it was a small problem…,” she says. “We’re really understanding more and more the impact it can have on the productivity and quality of life for people who have this condition. Basically, the new data shows (and confirms some older data) that it impacts every aspect of people’s lives.”

    In 2004, Dr. Glaser and colleagues found that only about a third of patients who identified themselves as having excessive sweating had ever seen or talked with a healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, nurse, physician, physician assistant, etc. In 2017, only about half of people studied had discussed their concerns with a healthcare provider, she says.

    In November 2017, Dr. Glaser, who is president of the International hyperhidrosis Society, took part of a patient-focused drug development seminar related on hyperhidrosis with the FDA.

    “The FDA was actually very interested in trying to understand what the needs are to get [patients] more help because there really has been a limited number of FDA-approved treatments,” she says.

    Current hyperhidrosis treatments are limited and include: Botox (Allergan) treatments, which are FDA-approved for axillary hyperhidrosis; MiraDry (Miramar Labs), which has an FDA indication as a device for axillary hyperhidrosis; the iontophoresis machine, which also has an FDA indication to the specific use; or to topically apply aluminum chloride.

    Conflicts of interest: Dr. Glaser has research grants with Dermira, Allergan, Sienna. She serves on the advisory boards for Dermira, Allergan, Galderma, Merz and Brickell.

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    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...

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