Botulinum toxin, also known as Botox, is most famous for its use in facial wrinkle treatment. However, Botox is also an effective treatment for excessive sweating in the armpits, called axillary hyperhidrosis, and while there are medications and other treatments available, they usually cause numerous side effects and are only marginally effective at treating the problem. Botox injections are very effective, although they do involve some potentially serious side effects.
Common Side Effects
Several side effects of Botox in the armpits are mild. These side effects are not signs of an allergic reaction or a serious health threat. Pain and bleeding at the injection site is common. Sweating may occur elsewhere on the body, since the Botox prevents it from occurring in the armpits. Some patients experience sore throat, fever, headache, neck and back pain or flu symptoms following Botox injections. Anxiety and itching are possible post-injection as well. Call the administering doctor for instructions on how to handle signs of illness.
Serious Side Effects
Botox injections can, in rare cases, cause life-threatening side effects. These include allergic reactions and heart problems. Signs of a serious reaction include problems speaking, difficulty swallowing and breathing issues. These reactions are medical emergencies and warrant immediate medical attention.
Certain people are more likely to experience serious side effects. These include individuals with neuromuscular disorders, such as ALS, myasthenia gravis and Lambert-Eaton syndrome. Patients who had severe reactions to Botox injections in the past or reactions to any of the ingredients in Botox injections are not good candidates for Botox injections.
Botox injections only provide relief from excess sweating for about six months. Additional injections are necessary for treatment of the sweating. This means that patients have to deal with side effects from Botox injections at least every six months. With new injections, patients may have similar reactions, or they may react in new ways to the Botox injections.
Using a physician who has extensive experience with Botox injections in the armpit greatly reduces the risk of serious side effects. To minimize discomfort during the injections, a special numbing cream applied 30 minutes to an hour before the injection helps immensely. Ensuring a sterile skin surface before injecting the Botox reduces risk of infection.