International Hyperhidrosis Society Data Reveals Delays in Medical Care for Common, Disabling Condition
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology Releases Breaking Sweat Research
For Immediate Release - April 24, 2018
Center Valley, PA:
New research in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology shows that people suffering from chronic, extreme sweating (the medical condition hyperhidrosis) wait 3 to 10+ YEARS before seeking treatment and that the most commonly recommended treatments for this often “secret,” yet disabling, genetic condition provide the least satisfaction.
Hyperhidrosis affects 4.8% of the population, making it more common than peanut allergies, psoriasis and melanoma but less frequently discussed or cared for.
With its recent research, the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS) is highlighting imperatives to improve awareness of hyperhidrosis, make new treatments available, and to advocate for prompt satisfying treatment.
Co-researcher and IHhS co-founder Dr. Adelaide Hebert, Professor of Dermatology with the University of Texas Medical School, says “We need to legitimize hyperhidrosis as a medical condition, rather than a cosmetic one, so that treatment can be more accessible and the delay in seeking medical care can be reduced. Combating delay in treatment is of particular importance given the established association between hyperhidrosis and mental health concerns, particularly social anxiety and depression.”
Previous studies have shown that 80% of hyperhidrosis sufferers are dissatisfied with their ability to succeed at work, 60% feel unhappy or depressed, and 30% are frustrated by daily activities. Hyperhidrosis has also been linked to a 300% increased risk of skin infections. Indeed, most sufferers report that sweating negatively impacts their physical health.
Yet the new data (“Understanding Patient Experience with Hyperhidrosis: A National Survey in 1,985 Patients” by Dr. Hebert as well as IHhS’ Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, Dr. David Pariser and Lisa Pieretti, MBA) shows that nearly half of hyperhidrosis sufferers (49%) wait more than TEN years before seeking medical help and 85% wait at least three years.
These results are based on analysis of an online survey querying International
Hyperhidrosis Society subscribers who self-identified as having excessive sweating. As part of the survey, researchers asked about the hyperhidrosis patient experience, family history of excessive sweating, interactions with healthcare providers, sweating’s impact on daily activities, and treatment satisfaction.
Highlighting a disconnect between frequently-prescribed treatments and patient satisfaction, survey participants indicated they were most satisfied with botulinum toxin (BOTOX) injections for their excessive sweating and least satisfied with antiperspirants (both over-the-counter and prescription varieties). Yet, antiperspirants are among the most commonly recommended treatments for excessive sweating and BOTOX can be difficult for patients to access.
“My patients have been telling me for years that we need better and more treatments for hyperhidrosis and our study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology confirms that novel options are needed – now – and that we must do an even better job raising awareness of hyperhidrosis and how to manage it,” says study co-author, IHhS President and Saint Louis University School of Medicine Dermatology Professor and Vice Chairman Dr. Dee Anna Glaser.
Among respondents who had not received any hyperhidrosis treatment, 38.5% were not sure why not, 32% reported they couldn’t afford their recommended treatment, and 23% did not like their recommended treatment.
“Based on these results, there’s a lot of room for improvement,” says Dr. David Pariser, IHhS co-founder, article co-author and Dermatology Professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School. “Nearly a quarter of our patients don’t like the options being recommended to them and while patients indicate they are most satisfied with botulinum toxin injections, these are not often offered. Meanwhile, antiperspirants tend to be the most frequently prescribed treatments, but patient satisfaction with them is low. Combine this with ten years of delay and we can see how much work still needs to be done in terms of public education and meeting hyperhidrosis patients’ needs.”
Additional key findings from the research include:
- More than 18% of survey respondents reported an immediate family member also suffering from excessive sweating.
- Participants indicated that daily activity, clothing choice, and work/career are the life areas most impacted by excessive sweating.
- Study results showed the most common body areas affected by hyperhidrosis are underarms (67.7%), hands (64.6%) and feet (64.4%); in each case, the majority of participants noticed symptoms before the age of 18 years.
So why aren’t hyperhidrosis sufferers seeking treatment?
“We’ve long known that hyperhidrosis is an under-recognized, under-diagnosed, under-the-radar condition that’s, yet, extremely damaging to people’s lives,” says Lisa Pieretti MBA, Executive Director of the International Hyperhidrosis Society and study co-author. “The individuals living with this condition are often dismissed, misunderstood and otherwise road-blocked from accessing care and now, with this research, we see that those few who do receive treatment are typically not getting the most effective options, thus further being stymied from achieving the well-being they deserve. This serious medical condition warrants serious attention, awareness-building and care; it’s on all of us to make that the norm, as it is for other similar chronic health conditions.”
The International Hyperhidrosis Society thanks Dermira, Inc. (Menlo Park, CA) and Revance Therapeutics (Newark, CA) for generous research grants that helped to make this important work possible.
Press Contact and Physician Interview Scheduling: Angela Ballard, RN, International Hyperhidrosis Society, AngelaRN@SweatHelp.org
About the International Hyperhidrosis Society: Founded in 2003 by an elite team of world-respected physicians in hyperhidrosis research and treatment, the International Hyperhidrosis Society is the only independent, non-profit, global organization that strives to improve quality of life for those affected by excessive sweating. Its mission is to reduce the symptoms, anxiety and social stigma associated with excessive sweating by improving the information, support and treatments available to the millions of children, teens and adults affected by hyperhidrosis worldwide. Visit www.SweatHelp.org for a focused Physician Finder, to access useful downloads, and to stay up-to-date thanks to the hyperhidrosis news blog. Connect on Facebook via SweatingStopsHere and Twitter @WeKnowSweat.