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Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis is only available with individual funding - to be discussed with your GP

What is iontophoresis?

Iontophoresis is a treatment for idiopathic hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. It involves the passing of a weak electrical current through fluid in order to drive charged molecules into the skin. Here in the Dermatology Centre iontophoresis is offered to individuals with significant symptoms of hyperhidrosis to their hands and feet only. Initially the fluid used is tap water, which is successful for around 85% of adults; if this proves ineffective, it is possible to use a chemical (anticholinergic) solution. 

Whatever fluid is used, the results of iontophoresis are temporary. In order to keep the skin dry it is necessary to treat it regularly, using home equipment. Using tap water means that there are no drug-associated side effects, and that patients can treat their skin as often as needed (usually weekly) to maintain dryness; however, the initial course of treatment required to achieve dryness requires the patient to attend the dermatology centre up to 10 treatments over a three - four week period. The chemical keeps the skin dry a little longer, but has side effects and cannot be used as often. 

The service we provide seeks to discover whether iontophoresis 'works' for the patient: not just in terms of achieving dryness, but also whether the patient can tolerate the strong sensation of pins and needles that treatment entails. We do not provide any ongoing treatment. Home equipment is available to buy from the manufacturers, currently the cost is a minimum of £325. It is also possible to treat the armpits at home, by purchasing the relevant attachments. 

This department treats both adults and children, who need to be able to sit still whist receiving a slightly uncomfortable treatment. Since this procedure involves electrical currents it is important to adhere to certain safety measures. Once we have confirmation that your GP has been successful in obtaining funding for treatment on your behalf, we can arrange an appointment with a specialist nurse who will go through all the practical and safety information and then start your treatment.

Visit this website to find our more about sweating.