The procedure for getting Botox® for hyperhidrosis involves receiving 15 to 20 very small injections in the treated area. The procedure generally takes between 10 and 15 minutes. For injections in the underarm, no anesthesia is required. For treatment in the palms of the hands, however, nerve blockers are used to numb the hands, as these areas are more sensitive to pain.
Botox® for hyperhidrosis works by stopping nerves from sending chemical signals that stimulate the sweat glands. Without these signals, the glands do not produce excessive sweat. The Botox® does not cause the sweat to become "backed up." It is simply not produced by the sweat glands that have received injections. The Botox® should begin to take effect within four weeks of the procedure, and last for approximately six months.
In the United States, Botox® for hyperhidrosis has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating of the underarms. The FDA has not approved Botox® to treat palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating in the palms of the hands or the soles of feet, but some doctors offer this as an off-label use. Botox® for hyperhidrosis is not recommended for patients under the age of 18.
There are many other treatment options available for hyperhidrosis. These include prescriptions strength antiperspirants and deodorants, as well as iontophoresis, a procedure that involves submerging the affected area in water then sending a small electrical current to the surface of the skin. In rare and extreme cases, surgery is used to treat hyperhidrosis.
Botox® is the brand name of botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large doses, this bacterium causes botulism, a serious paralytic illness. In Botox® treatments, small amounts of the toxin are diluted and injected into muscles. The toxin blocks signals from the nerves to the muscle so that the muscle can no longer contract, causing a controlled weakening of the muscle. It's most well-known use is for reducing wrinkles, but it is also approved for the medical treatment of chronic migraines, upper limb spasticity, cervical dystonia, and eye problems such as strabismus and blepharospasm.
Botox® can have many side effects, include dry mouth, fatigue, headaches, and eye problems. Some people have allergic reactions to the injections, including wheezing, dizziness, itching, and asthma symptoms. It is important to talk to a doctor about whether Botox® for hyperhidrosis is the right treatment.