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Conquering Hyperhidrosis


Dee Anna Glaser, MD: Do you have any last thoughts about how we’re going to conquer some of these unmet needs? We talked about social media. Are there any new platforms that you can think of that might be good?

Adam Friedman, MD, FAAD: I see its value. I see where it could be used incorrectly, but I also see where you can really capitalize with these Web-based platforms. I look at the media, in general, like this: It’s an opportunity for us to reach out far beyond our office walls, to reach a much broader audience. But it has to be the right messaging. We need to get patients to feel comfortable with their own disease. There are 2 elements. No. 1 is, it’s like their dirty little secret. We have to kind of root it out. They don’t want to talk about it. And No. 2 is, as Adelaide mentioned earlier, these patients are probably the top criers in our office.

People recognize the disease. These patients have been suffering alone for so long, not realizing there’s a medical problem. You lift this weight and they just break down. I think it is therapeutic, in that respect, but it would be wonderful if patients came in and said to us, “I have hyperhidrosis. I need treatment.” They don’t do that. We’re catching this on full body skin exams. We’re catching this incidentally. I have seen patients who have refused to be treated. They act like it’s not a big deal. I’m like, “Yes, it is.” “No, it’s not.” “Yes, it is.” “No, it’s not.” And I say, “When you’re ready, come to me.”

But the fact that we have to push this idea, that this is a medical problem, and that it can be treated, there is something wrong there. I think we could use social media platforms and the media the right way, in order to make people recognize that this is a medical problem, but also to grab it by the neck. Let them run it versus the other way around. Let them know that they can do something about it.

Dee Anna Glaser, MD: Is there anything that you would speak more to for the pediatric population?

Adelaide Hebert, MD: I think we need to go to the school nurses and educate them. We need to go to the pediatricians and really work with them. Many pediatricians had no idea, when I’ve gone through rounds, that this was actually a condition that was treatable or identifiable. They were not given that education during residency or medical school. But as we continue to look forward, and as we have more options, I think it’s almost inevitable that we’ll have opportunities for education. I recently did another program on hyperhidrosis. I think that’s an arena in which physicians will go often online and take advantage of as an educational opportunity. But we really just have to get this word out. We probably need something in the lay press as well, not just on Instagram and Facebook. A pop singer, or a movie star, somebody who has hyperhidrosis, is often one of the most compelling moments in science because they make it very real. They’ll talk about their experience. Then other people feel that they can also discuss it a bit more openly. If someone famous has it, they can have it, too.

Dee Anna Glaser, MD: Andy, any thoughts from your side?

Andy Szczotka, PharmD: I obviously agree with everything that’s been brought up. From the payer side, the key is reintroducing the patient back to us. We’ve kind of lost that touch because we don’t see the patients in the frontline every day. We see them, unfortunately, as utilization data or a claim or whatever has come through. There really is a patient on the other side of this. As clinicians, we all know that, but sometimes it’s helpful to get that reinforcement. I think the various platforms allow us to do that. And that’s really the key in the process: to understand that this really is a medical condition, not just a lifestyle condition.

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