If you have hyperhidrosis, you’re probably looking at treatments and remedies to deal with your excessive sweating, including oral medications.
Oral hyperhidrosis medications stop excessive sweating by disrupting some of your body's natural processes. Some oral medications block neurotransmitters, while others block adrenaline, which eases anxiety in stressful situations.
It's important to note that these oral medications are not specifically designed to treat hyperhidrosis. These drugs are FDA-approved for other medical issues, but can help with hyperhidrosis.
This guide will walk you through the different oral medications for hyperhidrosis. We’ll talk about side effects, common concerns about hyperhidrosis drugs and other alternatives to manage excessive sweat.
- What is hyperhidrosis medication?
- Types of oral medication for hyperhidrosis
- Other oral hyperhidrosis medications and treatments
- When oral hyperhidrosis medications don’t work
- An alternative way to deal with excessive sweating
Types of Oral Medication For Hyperhidrosis
Oral hyperhidrosis medications fall into three main categories — anticholinergics, beta blockers and benzodiazepines.
A physician must prescribe any of these medications. There are currently no hyperhidrosis medications available over the counter.
Anticholinergics are the most common oral medication for hyperhidrosis. Anticholinergics block chemicals that allow certain nerves to communicate with one another, reducing body sweat.
These medications don’t spot-reduce — they cause a drying reaction over the entire body, even in areas where sweating isn’t an issue.
Anticholinergics are ideal for treating sweat that affects multiple body parts or one large body area (such as the back) that aren’t easily treatable.
Anticholinergics are prescribed off-label but considered effective based on years of anecdotal evidence. Common anticholinergic medications include:
- Propantheline (Pro-Banthine): used with other medications to treat ulcers
- Glycopyrrolate (Cuvposa): used to treat peptic ulcers and excessive stomach acid
- Benztropine (Cogentin): used with other medicines to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease
- Oxybutynin (Ditropan): used to treat overactive bladder and incontinence
Inhibiting your body from sweating sounds like a great idea, right? But it also means your body can't efficiently cool itself, putting you at risk of overheating.
If you’re an athlete or work or live in warm climates, exercise caution when taking anticholinergics for hyperhidrosis.
Side Effects of Anticholinergics
While often mild, side effects of anticholinergics include:
- Dry mouth
- Impaired taste
- Blurred vision
- Urinary retention
- Heart palpitations
You can manage these side effects by adjusting your dosage.
Beta blockers block the effects of stress hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) that trigger the body’s natural “fight or flight” response.
Blocking the body’s physiological response to stress eases nervous sweating.
Common beta blockers include propranolol (Inderal), which primarily treats abnormal heart rhythms and angina pectoris.
Beta blockers are best for patients who experience hyperhidrosis episodes (usually during stressful moments like job interviews or public speaking).
Nerve-blocking medications can provide temporary relief for dealing with stress but aren’t a long-term solution.
Side Effects of Beta Blockers
The most common side effects of beta blockers include:
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Cold hands and feet
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Weight gain
Don’t abruptly stop taking a beta blocker - doing so can increase your risk of a heart attack or other heart problem.
Benzodiazepines (or “benzos”) work by enhancing GABA, a tranquilizing neurotransmitter in the brain.
The drugs create a sedative response that reduces anxiety and, subsequently, sweating.
Common benzodiazepines include Xanax and Valium, which treat anxiety and insomnia.
Side Effects of Benzodiazepines
The most common side effects of benzodiazepines can be significant and include:
- Mental confusion
- Lack of motor control
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
Important: Benzodiazepines are habit-forming and intended for short-term use. Mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines can be fatal.
Other Oral Hyperhidrosis Medications and Treatments
Some people find success with other off-label prescription medications, including:
- Clonidine (Catapres): used for treating high blood pressure
- Indomethacin (Indocin): used to treat arthritis pain and stiffness
- Gabapentin (Neurontin): used with other medications to prevent and control seizures
Hyperhidrosis medication is also available in liquid form, which can be helpful for children.
In addition to oral hyperhidrosis medications, your physician might also suggest:
When Oral Hyperhidrosis Medications Don't Work
Unfortunately, oral hyperhidrosis medications won’t help all excessive sweaters.
Hyperhidrosis medication is best for patients who experience certain types of sweating. These include generalized hyperhidrosis, excessive facial sweating, compensatory sweating from ETS surgery and secondary hyperhidrosis.
- Patients with glaucoma, impaired gastric emptying or symptoms of urinary retention.
- Patients over 65. Recent studies report a potential link between long-term, high anticholinergic use and the development of dementia or brain atrophy in older people. Older patients should talk to their physician before taking anticholinergics for hyperhidrosis.
Remember, prescription medications usually aren’t the first line of defense for treating hyperhidrosis.
Most experts recommend antiperspirants and other topical treatments before considering oral medications for hyperhidrosis.
Discuss oral medications thoroughly with your physician to make sure you understand their effects and proper usage.
An Alternative Way to Deal With Sweating
Here’s the bottom line: there is no foolproof oral medication for hyperhidrosis. Your success with hyperhidrosis medications will depend on your condition, treatments you’ve tried so far, your lifestyle and other symptoms.
That said, is there a less risky but equally effective solution for dealing with hyperhidrosis? Yes! A sweat proof Thompson Tee undershirt.
Each sweat proof Thompson Tee contains a Hydro-Shield underarm barrier that traps moisture and body heat, allowing sweat to evaporate and escape as vapor.
Try the Thompson Tee risk-free today!
*PLEASE NOTE: As with any medical-related issue, it's best to talk to your doctor or seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner. Do not use the information provided for any diagnostic purposes or as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.