It's been highly publicized for smoothing out wrinkles, but now botox is getting the green light to go "undercover", in other words, under the arms.
The FDA has approved the weakened form of food poisoning as a worthwhile treatment to curb excessive sweating. Botox works by temporarily paralyzing a nerve that stimulates the sweat glands. In one study, 90% of patients who received botox under the arm began sweating half as much after the shots.
It's not a cure, though, and it's not even a new treatment. What's new is that the FDA has given its approval, which means botox can be advertised for underarm sweating now. Before you sign up, you should know it's expensive and needs to be repeated about every six months. The company that makes the drug says the average cost for treating both arms runs around $750. And ironically, side effects may include sweating in other parts of the body instead of under the arm.
Botox was first approved in December 1989 to treat two eye muscle disorders (blepharospasm and strabismus). Since then it has been approved to treat cervical dystonia, a neurological movement disorder causing severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions. Most recently, in 2002, it was approved as botox cosmetic to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows.
People with a condition called hyperhidrosis produce four or five times the amount of underarm sweat as is normal. According to the international hyperhidrosis foundation, the condition affects an estimated 7 million Americans. There are various treatments, including powerful antiperspirants, drugs to prevent sweat gland stimulation, even surgery on those glands.