FDA Clears First Patch to Treat Axillary Hyperhidrosis

Marcia Frellick

April 13, 2023

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today cleared the first patch to reduce excessive underarm sweating for adults with primary axillary hyperhidrosis.

The single-use, disposable, prescription-only patch will be marketed as Brella. It consists of a sodium sheet with an adhesive overlay. A healthcare provider applies it to the patient's underarm for up to 3 minutes and then repeats the process on the other underarm.

The developer, Candesant Biomedical, says the patch uses the company's patented targeted alkali thermolysis (TAT) technology, which was built on the principle that heat is generated when sodium reacts with water in sweat.

"The thermal energy created by the sodium sheet is precisely localized, microtargeting sweat glands to significantly reduce sweat production," according to the company's press release announcing the FDA decision.

Approval Based on Randomized, Controlled Trial

FDA clearance was based on data from the pivotal randomized, double-blind, multicenter SAHARA study, which indicated that the product is effective and well tolerated.

Patients experienced a reduction in sweat that was maintained for 3 months or longer, according to trial results.

"Patients with excessive underarm sweating struggle with treatment options that can be tedious, uncomfortable, and even ineffective," Dee Anna Glaser, MD, a dermatologist who practices in St. Louis and is a founding board member of the International Hyperhidrosis Society, said in the company release.

She said the data show the patch "has the potential to set a new standard of care that is simple and fast to administer, with no needles or downtime, and fits easily into a patient's in-office treatment regimen."

Medscape reported on the SAHARA trial results, which were presented in a late-breaking abstract at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in March.

The trial enrolled 110 individuals with Hyperhidrosis Disease Severity Scale (HDSS) scores of 3 or 4 (indicating frequent sweating or sweating that always interferes with daily activities). Trial participants were randomly assigned to receive either an active TAT or a sham patch, which was applied for up to 3 minutes.

Lead investigator David M. Pariser, MD, a dermatologist practicing in Norfolk, Virginia, reported that at 4 weeks, 63.6% of patients in the active patch group achieved an HDSS score of 1 or 2, compared with 44.2% of those in the sham treatment group (P = .0332). Also, 43.2% of those in the active patch group achieved an improvement of 2 points or greater on the HDSS, as compared with 16.3% of those in the sham treatment group (P = .0107) .

In addition, 9.1% of those in the active patch group achieved a 3-point improvement on the HDSS, compared with none in the sham group. "That's an amazing improvement; you're basically going from moderate or severe to none," Pariser said at the meeting.

As for adverse events (AEs), 13 patients in the active patch group experienced AEs at the treatment site. Six patients experienced erythema; four experienced erosion; two experienced burning, itching, or stinging; and one had underarm odor.

"The two procedure-related AEs in the TAT-treated group were compensatory sweating and irritant contact dermatitis due to the adhesive," Pariser said. He noted that most AEs resolved in fewer than 2 weeks, and all AEs were mild to moderate.

According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, about 1.3 million people in the US have axillary hyperhidrosis, and about a third report that sweating is barely tolerable and frequently interferes with daily activities or is intolerable and always interferes with daily activities.

The patch will be available within months in select US markets beginning in late summer. The company says the markets will be listed on its website.

A company representative told Medscape that since it is an in-office procedure, pricing will vary, depending on the practice.

"With that said, Candesant expects doctors will charge about the same for one session of the Brella SweatControl Patch as they would for a high-end, in-office facial or chemical peel," the representative said.

Pariser is a consultant or investigator for  Bickel Biotechnology, Biofrontera AG, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Celgene Corporation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Regeneron, and Sanofi.

Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune, Science News, and Nurse.com, and was an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick

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