How effective is iontophoresis in the treatment of hyperhidrosis?

Updated: Mar 23, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Iontophoresis was introduced in 1952 and consists of passing a direct current across the skin. [39, 40, 41] The mechanism of action remains under debate. In palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, the daily treatment of each palm or sole for 30 minutes at 15-20 mA with tap water iontophoresis is effective. [42] Intact skin can endure 0.2-mA/cm2 galvanic current without negative consequences, and as much as 20-25 mA per palm may be tolerated. [42] Numerous agents have been used to induce hypohidrosis, including tap water and anticholinergics; however, treatment with anticholinergic iontophoresis is more effective than tap water iontophoresis. [43] However, the latter is safe and effective when used on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 4 weeks, with continued treatment maintaining the effect. [44] Noncompliance is common with tap water iontophoresis, as it can be time-consuming. [45] This technique merits consideration prior to systemicoraggressive surgical intervention.

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