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Recognizing Hyperhidrosis as a Medical Condition

Shawn Davis, PharmD, remarks on the importance of recognizing hyperhidrosis as a medical condition, highlighting strategies for raising awareness within the managed care community.


Shawn Davis, PharmD: Today, payers don’t really think much about hyperhidrosis. Part of that’s because many patients haven’t come forward to try to get therapy. With the medication that’s supposed to be approved in June of 2018, payers will have to start thinking about it. Are they going to want to think of this as a lifestyle drug, or is it going to be a treatment that really is concerning to real patients—ones who are probably not being treated today and really haven’t come forward? There is a stigma around hyperhidrosis—that it’s not a real condition. This is a stigma until you meet someone who has it and you see the impact it has on their lives.

At the end of the day, pharmacy benefit managers and health plans have patients who they’re trying to take care of. In order to do that, they have to see this as a real disease state. With patient testimonials, you can see how their life is impacted. Again, this is a disease state that people don’t want to admit to. You may have to change your shirt 2 or 3 times a day. People have gotten used to carrying 3 of the same shirt every day. They have masked this so well that some people, unless you really pay attention, don’t even know that they have the condition.

This is the same if your palms are sweaty. Every time you shake someone’s hand, you wipe your hand on your pant leg or skirt so you don’t have that feeling when you’re touching someone or shaking their hand. It’s something that has to be seen as something more than just lifestyle. Right now, lifestyle is how a lot of managed care professionals are probably thinking about this, and they are not seeing it for the disease state that it really is.

I think the patient testimonials and seeing real data of how it’s going to work … a lot of managed care or manufacturers try to put out data around quality-adjusted life years and health economic studies of more presenteeism. Those are good, but I don’t know that the managed care community really dives into them.

We need to look at patients who are being impacted by this condition and look at the other medications that they are taking today or once someone has tried to utilize this medication. We need to really encourage the managed care professionals to go into their patient profiles to see if they are using antidepressants or other medications to try to curb the lifestyle that they’ve been forced into today because of this condition.

 
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