Researchers set sights on permanent cure for excessive sweating

Researchers studying the condition of excessive sweating, known as hyperhidrosis, have made finding a permanent cure for patients the top priority in their work.

sweating hands main

A team led by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has carried out the first survey of its kind into the skin condition.

Affecting as much as three per cent of the population, hyperhidrosis causes sweating that, in some cases, is so excessive it can lead to physical problems and psychological distress.

These go on to have a significant effect on the person’s quality of life.

There have been cases where people’s hands sweat so excessively they cannot pick up a pen to write and other cases of people having to shower and change their clothes during the working day. Others are too embarrassed to leave the house.

A research team led by Dr Louise Dunford, of DMU, is raising the profile of the condition to ensure more research funds are directed towards investigating new and better treatments.

The Hyperhidrosis Priority Setting Partnership has surveyed more than 250 patients and clinicians, including nurses, GPs and dermatologists, to identify research priorities.


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It was set up as a collaboration between DMU, The James Lind Alliance and the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network. 

Dr Dunford, Director of the Institute of Allied Health Sciences Research at DMU, said: “Hyperhidrosis currently receives little research funding, despite it being a common condition.

“Currently, there are not many effective ways to treat the condition, and patients often report difficulty in accessing treatments via the NHS.

“The partnership we have set up brings patients and clinicians together to identify and prioritise unanswered questions about the treatment and management of hyperhidrosis.

“The aim of this is to help ensure those who fund health research are aware of what really matters to both patients and clinicians.”

The top ten priorities are:



Are there any safe and effective permanent solutions for hyperhidrosis?


What is the most effective and safe oral treatment (drugs taken by mouth) for hyperhidrosis?


What are the most effective and safe ways to reduce sweating in particular areas of the body (e.g. hands, feet, underarms, face, head etc.)?


How does hyperhidrosis affect quality of life?


Are combinations of different treatments more effective than one type of treatment for hyperhidrosis?


What is the most safe and effective treatment for mild to moderate hyperhidrosis?




Could targeted therapies or biologics (e.g. antibodies, hormones, stem cells), be effective in treating hyperhidrosis?


What is the most effective severity scale that can be used to determine if a person is eligible for hyperhidrosis treatment?


What is the safest and most effective surgery for hyperhidrosis?


How safe are hyperhidrosis treatments at different stages of life, e.g. childhood, pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Current treatments include using electric currents to pass through the hands, feet or armpits, known as iontophoresis, a medication which stops sweating all over the body and therefore can cause other problems, or surgery to remove sweat glands in the affected area.

This top ten list is being widely publicised, and shared with health research funders, so that research money can be directed to help tackle the questions.

Posted on Thursday 14 March 2019

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