Derms and patients alike are going to be excited about this breakthrough option.

By Mona Gohara, MD
Photo: JadeThaiCatwalk / Getty Images

Excessive sweating is a common reason for visits to the dermatologist. Sometimes, switching to a clinical-strength antiperspirant can do the trick, but in the case of truly excessive sweating, it's usually not as easy as swiping on a product-until now.

Earlier this summer, the FDA approved a prescription wipe called Qbrexza, calling it a safe and effective topical treatment for hyperhidrosis under the arms. It's the first time there's been a treatment for excessive sweating that's this easy to use, accessible, *and* effective. And in just a few months it'll be a new first-line therapy for anyone who hasn't had any luck with over-the-counter cures.

What's Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is a relatively common condition characterized by abnormal, excessive sweating-and by excessive, I mean soaking, dripping wetness (not just related to heat or exercise). Not fun. (Related: How Much Should You Really Sweat During a Workout?)

Hyperhidrosis can happen all over the body, but it usually occurs in the armpits, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. It's estimated that 15.3 million Americans are contending with hyperhidrosis.

From talking to patients who suffer from this every day, I can tell you, it impacts more than just your clothes. Hyperhidrosis is often a cause of anxiety and embarrassment-it can dampen self-esteem, intimate relationships, and day-to-day life.

How does Qbrexza work?

Qbrexza comes in an individual pouch, packaged with a single-use, pre-moistened, medicated cloth. It's designed to be applied to clean, dry underarms once a day. The main ingredient, glycopyrronium, which is currently available in pill form, actually stops the gland from getting "activated" so that it doesn't receive the chemical cue it needs to produce sweat. (Related: 6 Weird Things You Didn't Know About Sweating)

And the research so far shows that these wipes can actually get the job done. In clinical trials, patients who used the wipe for just one week experienced a sweat reduction. "Studies confirm good results with a reduction in sweat production and improved quality of life," says Dee Anna Glaser, M.D., president of the International Hyperhidrosis Society and professor in the department of dermatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine, who conducted pilot studies on Qbrexza.

Dr. Glaser also notes that the wipes are very well tolerated with few cases of irritation. She adds that hand washing after use is one of the most important nuances of use to avoid any potential eye contamination.

Why Is Qbrexza a Game-Changer?

While millions of Americans are dealing with excessive sweating, only 1 in 4 will seek treatment. And research shows that for those who do, satisfaction with the current treatment options is low.

Clinical strength or prescription antiperspirants (which block the sweat duct with the active ingredient aluminum chloride) tend to be the most frequently prescribed treatment, but they aren't always super effective. Botox injections are another common treatment that's proved more effective (small shots are administered in the affected area about every four to six months to block the nerves that cause sweating), but access is difficult-and not everyone wants to be poked with needles. There are also procedures such as microwave therapy, which helps to locally destroy overactive glands and foul-smelling perspiration, or surgical sweat gland removal for more involved situations. In other words, although there are several remedies for hyperhidrosis, the most effective ones require coming into your derm's office for a pricey or painful treatment and can come with significant side effects.

Want to give Qbrexza a try? Schedule an appointment with your derm and start counting down the days until October.


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