From Our 2007 Archives
Botox Curbs Excessive Sweating
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Doctors Use Botox to Treat Woman Whose Right Hand Often Dripped With Sweat
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
They used Botox shots to treat excessive sweat (hyperhidrosis) in a healthy 23-year-old woman.
Ever since childhood, the woman had experienced bouts of excessive sweat in her right forearm and the back of her right hand.
The sweating episodes had become more frequent and troublesome over the years, embarrassing the woman, note doctors including Monika Sonntag, MD, of University Hospital in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Before Botox treatment, the woman experienced five daily bouts of excessive sweating, on average. "Her hand literally dripped with sweat, affecting her work," Sonntag's team writes in The Lancet.
The woman had unsuccessfully tried other treatments for the previous two years. After that, Sonntag and colleagues gave her Botox injections in the affected area for six months.
The Botox shots stopped the woman's excessive sweating.
"The treatment was well tolerated and the patient's quality of life appreciably improved," write the doctors.
Botox is approved by the FDA to treat severe underarm sweating that cannot be managed by topical agents such as prescription antiperspirants.
Botox contains a tiny amount of the botulinum toxin. When used to treat severe underarm sweating, it stops the release of a chemical messenger called acetylcholine, temporarily blocking the nerves in the underarm that stimulate sweating.
Botox is a prescription drug and must be used carefully under medical supervision.
SOURCES: Sonntag, M. The Lancet, April 21, 2007; vol 369: p 1372. FDA: "FDA Approves Botox to Treat Severe Underarm Sweating." News release, The Lancet.
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