FDA Clears a New Patch for Excessive Armpit Sweating
Fact checked by Nick Blackmer
The FDA approved the Brella SweatControl Patch, a single-use disposable patch that can reduce excessive armpit sweating for up to four months.
Brella requires a prescription and must be administered by a healthcare provider, but it’s a non-invasive treatment that takes just three minutes.
The patch is set to be available in the U.S. later this summer.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared a brand new patch that treats excessive armpit sweating, and it just might be the secret to saving your white T-shirts.
The new treatment, called the Brella SweatControl Patch, is a single-use disposable underarm patch that can reduce the symptoms of hyperhidrosis—excessive sweating that’s not always related to heat or exercise. One application can last up to four months.
Brella requires a prescription, and it must be administered by a healthcare provider. This non-invasive treatment takes about three minutes. It’s expected to be available in the United States later this summer.
Related:How Hyperhidrosis Is Treated
How Does Brella SweatControl Patch Work?
The patch—which consists of a sodium sheet with an adhesive overlay—works using a pretty simple scientific principle, according to Dee Anna Glaser, MD, a dermatologist who participated in the Brella clinical trial and a founding board member of the International Hyperhidrosis Society.
When the sodium on the patch comes into contact with the water from sweat (which is made of 99% water), thermal energy is generated, Glaser explained. The heat from the sodium sheet is highly localized, microtargeting the sweat glands to substantially reduce the production of sweat. Brella is the first clinical application of this technology called targeted alkali thermolysis (TAT), she added.
Although the application of the patch is fairly quick and simple, Brella is a Class III medical device, which is why it needs to be administered by a licensed healthcare professional.
“Only a trained healthcare provider can properly apply the patch into the underarm area, ensure the patch is secure on the treatment area, monitor the treatment for procedure success, and ensure the patch is properly removed, discarded and the treated area is appropriately cleaned,” Glaser said.
Clinical studies show that the treatment is safe and well-tolerated: there were no severe or serious adverse events reported by any participant. One participant treated with the real patch did experience local redness and short-lasting irritation, but the rest of the participants in the pivotal study reported no adverse events.
Related:The 15 Best Clinical Strength Deodorants and Antiperspirants of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Who Is the Brella SweatControl Patch for?
This new sweat patch is for adults who find themselves frustrated by excessive underarm sweating at least once per week, Glaser said. Specifically, the armpit sweat should be caused by primary focal hyperhidrosis, which is localized in one area of the body. This is different from secondary hyperhidrosis, which can occur all over the body and it can be caused by medications or other conditions.
Research shows that roughly 5% of Americans—or 15.3 million people—report having hyperhidrosis, but experts say these numbers are likely an underestimation because many individuals who suffer from the condition don’t report it and therefore never receive a diagnosis. Glaser said Brella presents a new option for all those who want to find relief from excessive sweating.
“Patients can reclaim their confidence to raise their arms, reduce their worry about sweating through their tops, and attend their important and fun social events they have been avoiding,” she said. “I believe they will see reduced financial burden from dry-cleaning, purchasing new shirts, and spending money on less effective treatments and products.”
Related:Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Is Brella More Effective Than Botox in Controlling Armpit Sweating?
Mariano Busso, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who was an FDA advisory member, said Brella is an “interesting new tool added to the armamentarium of hyperhidrosis treatment.” It works differently from Botox, which he said is currently considered the gold standard of in-office hyperhidrosis treatments.
Brella is a needle-free application that lasts about four months, while Botox is administered through an injection and lasts from four to six months, Busso explained. In other words, Brella is a good alternative for those with a fear of needles.
Trials have shown that Brella is effective in 83% of patients and highly effective in 67% of them, while around 95% of patients reported significant improvements in hyperhidrosis symptoms with Botox.
But Botox comes with a high price tag of roughly $1,000-$1,500 per treatment, which is unaffordable for many. The price of Brella hasn’t yet been revealed, but Glaser said patients can expect it to be similar to the cost of in-office facials and peels, indicating it will likely be a more affordable option.
The price tag of Brella might be a major factor in patient acceptance, Busso said.
“One particular area where the TAT technology used in Brella can prove to be very useful is in the treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis,” Busso said. “Botox treatments can be associated with side effects like muscle weakness, whereas Brella seems to be very safe for this area.”
Read Next:How Hyperhidrosis Is Diagnosed
If you have primary axillary hyperhidrosis, the Brella SweatControl Patch might be a good non-invasive treatment option for you. Ask your healthcare provider about the patch when it’s released across the U.S. later this summer.