What is the role of iontophoresis in axillary hyperhidrosis treatment?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Richard H S Karpinski, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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Answer

Tap water iontophoresis is a fairly effective therapy in palmoplantar hyperhidrosis but is more cumbersome and less effective in axillary hyperhidrosis. In this procedure, moistened sponges wrapped around metal electrodes are inserted into each axilla for 20 minutes, and a low-voltage current is applied to the skin several times a week; it produces a stinging sensation. Adverse effects of this method are discomfort with burning, tingling, and skin irritation, including erythema and vesicle formation. Incorrect use may induce iontophoretic burns at sites of minor skin injury. A commonly marketed brand name is the Drionics device. The mechanism by which iontophoresis produces its sweat-decreasing effect is unknown.


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