People with excessive underarm sweating (primary axillary hyperhidrosis) now have a new treatment option: Brella, a patch that is applied in a doctor’s office and can reduce sweating for up to four months.
The patch works by creating “microthermal injuries” to the sweat glands. This means that it uses heat to damage the sweat glands, which reduces their ability to produce sweat.
Brella is a prescription patch, and it is applied for just three minutes in the doctor’s office. The patch is then removed, and the patient can go about their day.
The FDA approved Brella in April 2023. In clinical trials, Brella was shown to be effective in reducing sweating. In one study, 64% of patients who used Brella reported that their sweating had improved by at least two points on a scale of 1 to 4.
Brella is a safe and effective treatment for excessive underarm sweating. It is a non-invasive option that does not require surgery or needles. If you are struggling with excessive underarm sweating, talk to your doctor about whether Brella might be a good treatment option for you.
“FDA clearance of Brella represents a significant advance for millions of people dealing with the physical, emotional, financial, and aesthetic impact of hyperhidrosis, or sweating beyond what’s needed to keep the body cool,” Niquette Hunt, the founder and chief executive officer of Candesant, released a statement regarding this.
Brella is a prescription sodium patch that is applied to the underarms in a doctor’s office. It works by triggering a reaction between sodium in the patch and water in sweat, which causes “microthermal injury” to sweat glands. This results in reduced sweating for up to three to four months. The patch is worn for up to three minutes and then removed.
Brella Reduced Hyperhidrosis Sweating in Clinical Trials
A clinical trial was conducted to seek FDA approval, wherein 110 adults suffering from excessive underarm sweating were randomly assigned to receive up to three minutes of underarm treatment with either Brella or a sodium-free sham patch. The participants were evaluated weekly for 12 weeks and the responders were followed for an additional 24 weeks. Although the results haven’t been published yet, the company reported that the participants who received Brella experienced a significant reduction in sweat production, leading to improved quality of life. No serious or severe side effects were reported.
Hyperhidrosis can have a significant psychological and social impact on people. According to a review in January 2023 by the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, hyperhidrosis is associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety. Social situations can also trigger more sweating and embarrassment, resulting in a negative feedback loop.
Prevalence and Treatment Options Available
According to a study, there are more than 15 million adults in the United States suffering from hyperhidrosis, with approximately 70 percent experiencing severe excessive sweating in at least one area of their body. However, the actual prevalence of this condition may be even higher due to the fact that only around half of patients actually discuss their problem with a doctor.
Various treatments are available for excessive underarm sweating, including Botox injections which effectively block the nerve signals responsible for activating sweat glands. Another option is MiraDry, a device that uses thermal energy to permanently eliminate sweat glands. However, there is also an oral medication called glyrrolate, which can cause undesirable side effects such as heart palpitations, dry mouth, and headaches.
Furthermore, these alternative treatments may not always provide satisfactory results and can also be quite expensive for patients. Dr. Maral Kibarian Skelsey, director of the Dermatologic Surgery Center of Washington, explains that they can have unpleasant side effects and may not effectively address the issue of excessive underarm sweating.
For instance, Botox injections can lead to issues with swallowing, speaking, or breathing as stated on the company’s website. On the other hand, MiraDry, with costs ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 per session and potentially requiring up to three sessions, can cause underarm swelling, redness, tenderness, and even numbness or tingling in the treated area. In some cases, local anesthesia may be necessary in order to receive the treatment.
“Brella may be easier to utilize,” Dr. Skelsey said. “It doesn’t need to be applied every day, doesn’t require painful injections, and in trials there were few side effects. The approval is a boon to patients who may not have responded to other therapies or who want to avoid the pain or side effects of other available options.”
Candesant expects the treatment to be made available by late summer of 2023, but the company behind it has yet to make announcements on pricing.