2 Indications and current treatments
2.1 Primary hyperhidrosis of the upper limb is characterised by excessive sweating of the palms and/or axillae. It typically begins during childhood or adolescence, but can occur at any age and is usually life-long. In a few people, symptoms can spontaneously improve over time. Excessive sweating can have a profound effect on quality of life, interfering with daily activities and causing anxiety and embarrassment.
2.2 First-line management of primary hyperhidrosis includes lifestyle measures such as avoiding known triggers and tight clothing, and using antiperspirants (including aluminium chloride hexahydrate). Other treatments include iontophoresis and botulinum-toxin A injection, and oral medications such as anticholinergics, antimuscarinics, beta-blockers, antihypertensives and anxiolytics. If these do not work, surgical options include local sweat-gland excision by subcutaneous curettage or tumescent liposuction, or sympathectomy. Sympathectomy can be done either by open or endoscopic approaches: endoscopic sympathectomy is now usually the preferred technique because it is associated with less pain, improved cosmesis and more rapid recovery than open sympathectomy.