OBJECTIVES: The tendency for patients with primary focal hyperhidrosis (PFH), characterized by excessive sweating, to experience psycho-social deficits is well documented. In addition, although endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) effectively corrects PFH, its role in the psycho-social management of these patients remains unclear. Here, we examined changes in psychiatric symptomatology and psychotropic medication usage in PFH patients following ETS. METHODS: In total, 106 PFH patients underwent ETS and were compared against 213 matched controls. Information on psychiatric diagnosis and prescription was obtained through a retrospective chart review. Prospectively, PFH patients completed Hyperhidrosis Impact Questionnaires, Leibowitz Social Anxiety Scales and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scales to evaluate pre- and postoperative quality-of-life and psycho-social impairment. RESULTS: A significantly greater proportion of PFH patients had been prescribed psychotropic medication (37.7%) compared to controls (14.1%) despite no differences in the proportion of psychiatric diagnoses. Following ETS, 52.5% of the PFH patients who were using psychotropic medications reduced their prescription regimen, compared to only 10% of control patients (P < 0.01). Additionally, scores improved dramatically in each Hyperhidrosis Impact Questionnaires category, and in both the Leibowitz Social Anxiety Scales and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scales (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that in over half of PFH patients, psychotropic medication usage was discontinued after ETS, which is consistent with our findings on postoperative improvements in Hyperhidrosis Impact Questionnaires, Leibowitz Social Anxiety Scales and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scales scores. Furthermore, our findings suggest that a considerable proportion of PFH patients who experience psychopathology may be doing so secondary to excessive sweating. Thus, improved awareness or recognition of these associations in the diagnosis and management of PFH patients is warranted.
- Psychotropic medication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine