Is there any Scientific Proof that Iontophoresis Works?

The effectiveness of tap-water iontophoresis to treat hyperhidrosis has been documented by numerous studies on the subject. These studies included patients of all ages, ranging from 8 to 71 years old, with primary focal hyperhidrosis (mild, moderate and severe).

The treatment parameters were similar in regards to the current strength, the treatment duration and the treatment frequency.  The clinical studies evaluated the efficiency of the treatment both in clinical conditions (at the hospital and the treatment performed by healthcare professionals) and at home (the patients were provided with devices and they performed the treatments by their own).

Here’s what they say:

  • Tap-water iontophoresis treatments improves the quality of life significantly during treatment.1
  • 92.9% of patients had seen results after two weeks of iontophoresis treatments.2
  • 88.9% of patient had positive results, and a majority of the patients found the maintenance programme compatible with their lifestyle.3
  • The quality of life of patients was improved in 78.6% of patients after 2 weeks. 4
  • Tap-water iontophoresis is a simple, safe and effective therapeutic option for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.5
  • Tap-water iontophoresis is a safe and effective treatment for both palmo-plantar (hands and feet) hyperhidrosis and axillary (underarms) hyperhidrosis in the pediatric population, with minimal side effects.6
  • Tap water iontophoresis is an effective method of treatment for primary palmoplantar (hands and feet) and axillary (underarms) hyperhidrosis in paediatric patients.7
  • The study demonstrates that tap water iontophoresis controls palmar (hands) hyperhidrosis after a total of eight treatments.8
  • Iontophoresis treatment is safe, effective, and easy to use for the treatment of palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. This technique should be offered to patients with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis prior to surgical intervention or botulinum toxin injection.9
  • In summary, this study demonstrates that tap-water iontophoresis suppresses palmar hyperhidrosis. With instructions, tap-water iontophoresis is safe for unsupervised treatment of hyperhidrosis. Iontophoresis is a simple, economic and effective therapy that should be offered to patient for control of palmar hyperhidrosis prior to surgical intervention. Iontophoresis is also a suitable alternative to long-term drug therapy. 83.3% success rate. 10
  • At the present, tap-water iontophoresis represents the most effective therapy in hyperhidrosis of palms or soles. Patients with extremely high sweat rates respond to the treatment, no adverse effects were noticed during long-term maintenance treatment, and tap water iontophoresis not only curbs sweating but also abates other discomfortable symptoms, such as lividity, edema and clamminess of palms and soles.11
  • We found the treatment to be so effective in axillary (underarms) hyperhidrosis that we would recommend iontophoresisin preference to surgical excision of the sweat-glands.12
  • In our view, tap-water iontophoresis is by far more successful in treating hyperhidrosis of palms and soles. In a group of 7 patients, complete relief from excessive sweating was obtained and no treatment failure was observed.13
  • Since 1968, tap water iontophoresis has been employed as the method of choice for treating palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.14
  • A FDA in 2014 reviewing scientific data on the matter concludes that “all 8 studies reported that tap water iontophoresis effectively reduced sweating in the majority of subjects treated with TWI”.15

Akbar, Talat Masood, Mahmood A. Saqib, Sundas Fahim, Mohammad Nasir, and Haroon Nabi. “Efficacy and safety of tap water iontophoresis for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.” Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatology 23, no. 3 (2016): 304-309. 
Kim, Do Hun, Tae Han Kim, Seung Ho Lee, and Ai Young Lee. “Treatment of Palmar Hyperhidrosis with Tap Water Iontophoresis: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled, Single-Blind, and Parallel-Designed Clinical Trial.” Annals of dermatology29, no. 6 (2017): 728-734. 
Maj, NS WALIA, BS RATHORE Lt Col, and AK JAISWAL Col. “TREATMENT OF PALMOPLANTER HYPERHIDROSIS BY IONTOPHORESIS.” Medical Journal Armed Forces India 56, no. 1 (2000): 27-28. 
Kim, Do Hun, Tae Han Kim, Seung Ho Lee, and Ai Young Lee. “Treatment of Palmar Hyperhidrosis with Tap Water Iontophoresis: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled, Single-Blind, and Parallel-Designed Clinical Trial.” Annals of dermatology 29, no. 6 (2017): 728-734. 
Yardi, S. S., U. S. Khopkar, V. A. Phadke, and S. S. Idgunji. “Tap water iontophoresis for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.” Indian Journal of Dermatology 42, no. 3 (1997): 164-167. 
Dagash, Haitham, Sinead McCaffrey, Katie Mellor, Agnes Roycroft, and Ingrid Helbling. “Tap water iontophoresis in the treatment of pediatric hyperhidrosis.” Journal of pediatric surgery 52, no. 2 (2017): 309-312. 
Dogruk Kacar, Seval, Pinar Ozuguz, Selma Eroglu, Serap Polat, and Semsettin Karaca. “Treatment of primary hyperhidrosis with tap water iontophoresis in paediatric patients: a retrospective analysis.” Cutaneous and ocular toxicology 33, no. 4 (2014): 313-316. 
Karakoç, Yunus, Ertuğrul H. Aydemir, M. Tunaya Kalkan, and Gaye Ünal. “Safe control of palmoplantar hyperhidrosis with direct electrical current.” International journal of dermatology41, no. 9 (2002): 602-605. 
Safe control of palmoplantar hyperhidrosis with direct electrical current. Karakoç Y, Aydemir EH, Kalkan MT, Unal G. Int J Dermatol. 2002 Sep 
10 Stolman, Lewis P. “Treatment of excess sweating of the palms by iontophoresis.” Archives of dermatology 123, no. 7 (1987): 893-896. 
11 Hölzle, E., and N. Alberti. “Long-term efficacy and side effects of tap water iontophoresis of palmoplantar hyperhidrosis–the usefulness of home therapy.” Dermatology 175, no. 3 (1987): 126-135. 
12 Midtgaard, K. “A new device for the treatment of hyperhidrosis by iontophoresis.” British Journal of Dermatology 114, no. 4 (1986): 485-488. 
13 Hölzle, E., and T. Ruzicka. “Treatment of hyperhidrosis by a battery-operated iontophoretic device.” Dermatology 172, no. 1 (1986): 41-47. 
14 Hölzle, E. “Leitungswasseriontophorese.” Der Hautarzt 63, no. 6 (2012): 462-468. 
15 National Archives and Records Administration. “Reclassification of Iontophoresis Devices Intended for Any Other Purposes.” Office of the Federal Register (accessed September 1, 2018).

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