School of Medicine alumna combats patients’ excessive sweating with research and compassion
Dee Anna Glaser (M.D. ’87) is a recognized expert in the study and treatment of excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis. She was recently involved in pilot studies on the safety and effectiveness of Qbrexza, a wipe developed for the treatment for hyperhidrosis, which recently received FDA approval.
Millions of people suffer from excessive sweating, most commonly occurring in the underarms, forehead, hands, feet or groin. Without treatment, hyperhidrosis often impedes their regular lives. Sometimes simply asking for help stands in their way.
“People are often hesitant to discuss their excessive sweating at first,” said Glaser, professor and interim chair of the department of dermatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “They don’t understand that it is a medical condition that has a treatment.”
She notes that a recent study reported that up to 5 percent of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis.
“That’s more than 15 million people in the United States,” Glaser said.
Qbrexza is not the first FDA approved treatment for hyperhidrosis. Glaser also served on the review board for the use of Botox, which blocks the release of neurochemicals that stimulate sweat gland activity, as a treatment option. Glaser notes that when Botox received FDA approval it transformed therapy.
There are some advantages with Qbrexza. The FDA has approved its use for patients as young as 9 years old.
Glaser cautions people who aren’t familiar with this condition to not underestimate the impact on a patient’s quality of life. Sometimes even their doctors might think it’s not a big deal, so patients don’t know what their options are.
“It’s a constant day-to-day concern,” she said. “They can’t anticipate when it will be a problem, so people avoid social situations. There are teenagers who have never raised their hands in class. Their teachers don’t think they are smart or engaged.”
She notes that because teenagers are tech-savvy, they often discover information on their own. Not everyone is that lucky.
“Not all doctors are familiar with the treatment options. I talk to some patients who have been told nothing can be done. I’d encourage anyone struggling with this condition to not give up.”
Glaser notes that treatment options continue to expand. While Qbrexza is an easy to use wipe, other options may work better for some patients.
“There may be people who’d prefer to receive Botox injections every six or seven months. For others, daily wipes are easier. There’s also the option of MiraDry, which is a non-invasive microwave technology that permanently eliminates sweat glands.”
These types of advancements are what led Glaser to dermatology.
“I like the breadth and depth of the specialty. It allows me medical, surgical, pediatric and adult opportunities as well as research.”
Qbrexza is currently available through doctors.