- Best Results12-24 hours
- Treatment RecoveryNA
- Procedure TimeNA
- Skin SpecialistYour GP
- Duration of Results4 to 24 hours
- AnaestheticNumbing to sedation
- Back to WorkNA
Tablets for Excessive Sweating
Several tablets are available to inhibit the transmission of chemical messengers that produce sweat. These family of drugs are termed ‘anticholinergics’, and they can be helpful in reducing sweating. All forms of excessive sweating including sweaty hands, feet, underarm sweating, and compensatory hyperhidrosis can improve on tablets. The flip side is that some patients will experience side-effects such as excessive tiredness, sedation, and dry mouth syndrome.
FactsFacts on Tablets for Sweating
- Anticholinergics are tablets used to inhibit chemicals that stimulate sweating
- Propantheline bromide is the most prescribed drug
- Anti-sweat medications are most useful if sweating is generalised or involves the face and scalp area
- Sweating will return when tablets are ceased, as tablets are not a long term ‘cure’ for excessive sweating
- Dermatologists often use tablets in the first phase of sweat management as we often combine treatments such as anti-sweat creams, antiperspirants, and iontophoresis
- Excessive sweat production can also be caused by certain tablets such as antidepressants
How do anti-sweat tablets work?
There are a variety of tablets taken orally that can help reduce excessive sweating. This family of tablets are known as anticholinergics and work by inhibition of the transmission of a chemical called acetylcholine. This in turn reduces activation of the sweat or eccrine glands.
What tablets are available for excessive sweating?
The most prescribed anticholinergic medications include propantheline bromide, Ditropan (oxybutynin) and glycopyrrolate.
Propantheline bromide is readily available in Australia and can be obtained via a prescription from your doctor.
Other tablets that may be selectively useful include beta-blockers such as propranolol. Some cases of excessive sweating can be related to anxiety and stress. In these circumstances, drugs such as anti-anxiety tablets can be helpful. Discuss with your GP if this treatment is suitable for you. Other tablets which have been reported to reduce sweating include Clonidine and Gabapentin.
How to start propantheline bromide?
This is a prescription only medication. The indications & side effects will be discussed by your GP. Follow the product information guidelines and please read the side effect profile of this medication.
Use: Best used for generalised sweating, can also be helpful if sweating involves the face/scalp areas. Maybe trialled for excessive sweating in areas such as the hands, feet, and armpits as well as cases of compensatory hyperhidrosis.
Dosage:15 mg tablets Propantheline Bromide. Take 15 mg at night. If tolerated, increase the dosage to one tablet at night, and one in the am. Maximum of 15 mg three times a day. The most common side effect is sedation/ excessive tiredness. This is often dose related. Anticholinergic side effects include dry mouth, constipation & blurred vision.
Disclaimer: I am a procedural dermatologist. For medical management of excessive sweating, seek advice from a medical dermatologist or your GP.
What are the side effects of tablets?
These tablets work by inhibition of acetylcholine transmission and sweat production; however side effects are seen in the majority of patients. These include- sedation, tiredness, dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, and urinary retention.
Side effects are often dose dependent. We suggest trialling a small dose at night and combining anti-sweat topicals to reduce sweating.
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Can medications be delivered straight into the sweat glands?
Drugs including glycopyrrolate can be delivered straight into the sweat glands. This process is called iontophoresis. This process involves the use of an electric current to drive tiny amounts of drugs or crushed tablets (such as Glycopyrrolate) directly into the sweat glands of the hands and feet. This process is reserved for patients who do not respond to standard iontophoresis protocols. A better & more accurate way to deliver drugs is in a solution, not crushing your medication.
Can some drugs cause sweating?
We have discussed drugs which can be taken to help reduce sweating, however it is important to exclude drugs you may be taking which may make sweating worse. Examples include certain antidepressants. Caffeine, Guarana, Geranium and Pseudoephedrine can also worsen sweating.
What are other methods to decrease or stop sweating?
OK, here is the truth- Specialists and doctors in general dread prescribing tablets for sweating. Why? Because the vast majority of hyperhidrosis is lifelong, and lifelong medication of anticholinergic drugs is not healthy.
In general, the use of tablets such as propantheline bromide is short term– months to years at most. Patients are now given many other options that are safer, more effective, and most importantly have fewer side effects than taking tablets. Your dermatologist will guide you as to what is the best treatment for your type of sweating. A solution is always possible.
Davin’s Viewpoint on Tablets For Sweating
My first line tablet for hyperhidrosis / excessive sweating is propantheline bromide in a 15 mg dose. This is an inexpensive tablet, readily available at most pharmacies. In our hands, it is effective in approximately 20-30% of cases, especially with generalised sweating, as well as cranio-facial hyperhidrosis. I start patients at a very low dose of one tablet at night and increase as tolerated. Most often I use this as an adjunctive treatment, combining methods such as iontophoresis, & neurotoxin injections. Sedation and xerostomia (dry mouth) is seen in nearly all patients, which limits the dose and usefulness of this medication.
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