Hyperhidrosis sufferers experience heavy uncontrollable sweating, regardless of their body temperature or levels of physical activity. If you’re suffering from secondary generalized hyperhidrosis, the cause of this sweating is a medical condition or a medication side effect. But if you’re diagnosed with primary focal hyperhidrosis, your excessive sweating is the condition itself.
In either case, you’ll be looking for a solution to control the sweating. And a lot of people turn to their healthcare provider for answers. There are a few different hyperhidrosis treatments that you can get on prescription, such as topical treatment and oral hyperhidrosis medication.
You can also inject Botox into your underarms, or get invasive surgery called Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS).
But given that you’re looking for over-the-counter hyperhidrosis medications right now, let’s look at effective solutions you can get online or from the store. It’s important to note that all OTC sweating medications are mostly topical, coming in the form of gels, creams, pads, roll-ons, and liquids.
This means you apply it onto the affected area, rather than consuming it orally. But this doesn’t make it less effective — as we’ll explain.
Understanding Anti-Sweat Medications
Medication for excessive sweating has different approaches to bring your sweating issues under control. Topical treatments address the problem at its source with potent sweat-blocking ingredients. While topical treatments occasionally cause rash and irritation, they have far less risk of side effects than oral medication for hyperhidrosis.
While anticholinergics are the most commonly used pills for hyperhidrosis, some patients find relief with beta-blockers, benzodiazepines, and other treatments. Because of their potential side effects, these medications require a prescription.
Topical Medication for Hyperhidrosis Available Over the Counter
Topical treatments for hyperhidrosis are generally very effective, using potent active ingredients to block sweat production — with less chance of side effects than oral medication.
And if you’ve already tried a prescription-only treatment such as Drysol, the good news is that you don’t need to jump to a hyperhidrosis oral medication or other medical procedures — the right OTC solution may well do a better job.
Alternatively, if you’ve been plugging away with conventional extra-strength antiperspirants (from big brands like Sure, Secret, or Dove), these are inadequate for the volume and regularity of sweat experienced by hyperhidrosis sufferers.
You’ll need a special hyperhidrosis treatment medication instead. Note: In this guide, we’re mainly talking about OTC treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis — i.e., excessive sweating in the armpits.
Specialist Topical Hyperhidrosis Treatments
Topical hyperhidrosis treatments can be sold over-the-counter when they contain a 15% or lower concentration of Aluminum Chloride. This is the active ingredient that works to block your pores and prevent sweat from forming.
Any stronger, and you’ll be looking at prescription-only treatments like Drysol. The good news is that stronger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Alternatives to Duradry
There are a number of specialist OTC options for anti-sweat medication out there, which are alternatives to Duradry. One is called Certain Dri, and you can check out a comparison between Duradry and Certain Dri’s treatments (as well as Drysol) in our post: Drysol Vs Certain Dri Vs Duradry.
Another treatment is SweatBlock, which uses disposable wipes as the application method. Others include Dr. Sweat, which uses pre-soaked pads, and ZeroSweat — which offers a range of different products. But remember: none of these alternative treatments offer a comprehensive step-by-step process for preventing your excessive sweating as Duradry does.
SweatBlock's Clinical Strength Antiperspirant Wipes claim to control sweating for up to 7 days. The active ingredient, 14% aluminum chloride, is combined with soothing vitamin E oil to guard against irritation and antiseptic eugenol (clove oil).
SweatBlock’s Excessive Sweat & Odor System uses evening Antiperspirant Wipes combined with SweatBlock Antiperspirant/Deodorant Stick. Sweatblock wipes use slightly less aluminum chloride than Duradry PM, and their deodorant stick uses a good bit less aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex. SweatBlock also expects you to provide your own soap, whereas Duradry has a specially formulated Duradry Wash.
Dr. Sweat’s Clinical Strength Antiperspirant pads contain 15% aluminum chloride, the maximum for a nonprescription product. Wipe down at night and the aluminum chloride will keep your sweat glands closed for up to seven days.
These premoistened pads are made with an alcohol-free and fragrance-free formula, and are available on Amazon. Reviewers at Glamour, New Beauty, and People en Espanol (among others), rave about Dr. Sweat’s long-lasting sweat relief.
While Dr. Sweat’s pads can definitely be useful in managing hyperhidrosis, they are not a complete solution and many people will want to supplement with another antiperspirant or medicine for sweating.
ZeroSweat offers a number of different aluminum chloride anti-sweat antiperspirants at 12% to 15% concentrations, as well as an Antiperspirant Lotion using a gentler aluminum sesquichlorohydrate formulation.
ZeroSweat’s Antiperspirant Lotion can help ensure a firm, dry handshake when meeting clients. And with ZeroSweat’s Antiperspirant Combo Pack, all your anti-sweat needs are met.
Reviewers give their antiperspirant products high marks, but warn that they can be irritating to the skin. Until you can buy anti-sweat pills over the counter, ZeroSweat will remain one of the better OTC solutions for hyperhidrosis.
Certain Dri is a fragrance-free antiperspirant that contains 12% aluminum chloride. It is one of the most powerful over-the-counter hyperhidrosis treatments available. A single application lasts up to 72 hours.
You apply Certain Dri at night before you go to sleep. (Make sure your skin is not irritated by shaving or for any other reason). Many people find that this evening application is all the protection they need, while others add a thin coating in the morning for extra assurance throughout the day.
Certain Dri Prescription Strength Antiperspirant costs $6 to $7 for a 1.2 oz (35.5ml) roll-on bottle.
Since 1956, Secret has been sold as a deodorant specifically designed for women, keeping them fresh throughout the day. Secret’s Clinical Strength Deodorant/Antiperspirant is the strongest in their lineup.
Secret Clinical Strength uses aluminum zirconium rather than aluminum chloride because aluminum zirconium is less irritating to the skin compared to aluminum chloride. However, it is less effective at plugging sweat glands. And so, Secret’s Clinical Strength Antiperspirant is not considered an OTC sweat medication, but a strong antiperspirant designed for workouts and other sweaty situations.
Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant costs between $6 and $9 for a 1.6 oz (45ml) container.
While Secret has been marketed as a women's antiperspirant, Mitchum has always aimed toward the masculine market. At the top of Mitchum's current lineup is their Clinical line (now offering formulations for both men and women).
Similar to Secret's formulation, Mitchum's Clinical and Invisible lines only use aluminum zirconium at a 20% concentration level, which is found in most "strong" OTC antiperspirants. Once again, this is not an over-the-counter treatment for hyperhidrosis.
Instead, it is merely an antiperspirant suitable for most people’s anti-sweat needs, not a formulation that can handle excessive sweating due to hyperhidrosis. Mitchum Clinical Antiperspirant costs between $8 and $9 for a 1.6 oz (45ml) container.
Along with its antiperspirant, Carpe offers hand lotions, foot lotions, and anti-sweat wipes. And while many antiperspirant manufacturers talk about dryness, Carpe works to deliver the best OTC sweat relief possible.
Carpe Underarm Lotion uses 15% aluminum sesquichlorohydrate. This aluminum salt has been shown in studies to have an anti-sweating action comparable to aluminum chloride, but with less likelihood of skin irritation.
Outside of prescription pills to stop sweating, Carpe is one of the best dryness solutions available. The only sticking point is its price — a 1.69 oz (50ml) container of Carpe Underarm Lotion costs $19.95.
Topical OTC treatments like these are suitable whether you have primary or secondary hyperhidrosis because they simply obstruct the mechanics of sweat production in the pores. Other treatments work differently.
For example, injecting botox (botulinum toxin) or using an electrical current with iontophoresis will interrupt the processes of the nervous system. And MiraDry uses microwave therapy to burn away your sweat glands.
What’s Wrong with Conventional Big Brand Antiperspirants?
Let’s be clear: many of the big OTC sweat medication brands claim to offer products that help people who suffer from excessive sweating. In truth, however, most of these are merely a marketing ploy. If you have hyperhidrosis, or excessive uncontrolled sweating, these big brand products are not really designed for your condition, and we know this just by looking at the active ingredients.
While these antiperspirants are perfectly okay for people who sweat normally, and for those who perhaps sweat a bit more than normal (maybe in certain situations), they’re definitely not built for the amount of sweating that hyperhidrosis sufferers experience in everyday life.
Big Brand Antiperspirants and Aluminum Chloride
Simply put, none of the big brand OTC antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride. This is probably because it has a higher risk of causing mild irritation for the user. They’re not willing to take this risk, so instead, they use active ingredients which are not quite as effective.
Degree Clinical Strength: 20% Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY
Note: Our everyday extra-strength antiperspirant, Duradry AM, also uses 20% Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex GLY, but this is used in combination with Duradry PM’s Aluminum Chloride (15%) which works while you sleep to block your pores and help Duradry AM perform.
In both products, the active ingredients are super-pure, low-pH, and use micronized particles.
Oral Medication for Hyperhidrosis: Why Can’t You Get Anti-Sweat Pills Over the Counter?
If you’re searching for legitimate oral medication for excessive sweating, you won’t find it anywhere outside of your doctor’s office. Unfortunately, they’re prescription-only.
And, in fact, most oral medications for hyperhidrosis are actually used “off-label” — meaning that while they’re thought to be useful for treating hyperhidrosis, the FDA hasn’t officially approved them as hyperhidrosis treatments. They’re actually used to combat other conditions.
These medications include Oxybutynin, Glycopyrrolate, Propantheline, and Benztropine. They’re the most commonly prescribed oral meds for hyperhidrosis, but may not be suitable for over-65s.
Anticholinergics work systematically and reduce overall sweat production by blocking Acetylcholine, the chemical messenger that triggers the receptors on the sweat glands. They don’t target specific areas of the body.
Glycopyrrolate is most commonly used to suppress saliva and respiratory secretions in sedated or intubated patients, and to reduce severe or chronic drooling in pediatric patients with neurological diseases.
You cannot buy glycopyrrolate over the counter, as it is a prescription medication. A test of a 0.5% topical glycopyrrolate cream found topical use significantly reduced hyperhidrosis during gustatory challenge (sweating too much while eating).
Pre-moistened glycopyrrolate cloths are indicated as an appropriate hyperhidrosis medication in patients nine years of age and older, for use not more than once every 24 hours on both underarms.
Oxybutynin is a broad-spectrum anti-sweat medication that blocks several different acetylcholine receptors. After oral use, Oxybutynin is rapidly absorbed with a 2-3 hour half-life and is distributed throughout the body.
Oxybutynin is most commonly prescribed for bladder issues and has been shown to reduce incontinence and frequent urination. Oxybutynin has been used for hyperhidrosis since 1988. Several studies have suggested that Oxybutynin has a good safety and effectiveness profile, with over 70% of hyperhidrosis patients noting significant improvement after Oxybutynin.
While it is not a hyperhidrosis over-the-counter treatment, Oxybutynin is a well-tested medication shown to alleviate excessive sweating.
Propantheline is an antispasmodic that is often used in the treatment of some intestinal disorders. It is also prescribed in adults who suffer from urinary wetting.
Propantheline relaxes the smooth muscles in your gastrointestinal and urinary systems. Propantheline also results in drier skin. This makes it helpful for people who suffer from gustatory sweating (sweating after eating or drinking), a symptom associated with diabetes and other symptoms.
It is used as an anti-sweat medication for excessive sweating associated with spinal cord injury. Propantheline creams have also been used to treat hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet.
These are designed to prevent the physical responses to anxiety — which can sometimes be a trigger for episodic hyperhidrosis, such as bouts of heavy uncontrolled sweating due to particular circumstances or situations.
Family doctors and dermatologists do regularly prescribe medication for excessive sweating, because they’re safe and widely used. But these hyperhidrosis pills (or liquids) can only be acquired if you have a prescription from a healthcare professional — meaning, any person or company selling them to you without one is breaking the law.
We recommend never taking shortcuts here. The risks aren’t worth it when you don’t know the source of the medication that you’re taking.
The Bottom Line
As we said earlier, you can’t get hold of these medications for hyperhidrosis legitimately unless you have a prescription. And even then, these are not FDA-approved specifically for hyperhidrosis.
Fortunately, oral meds are not the only way to treat excessive sweating. Topical treatments like Duradry can be highly effective for hyperhidrosis sufferers if they contain pure and potent active ingredients, and if they’re applied consistently and correctly to the affected area.
Introducing Duradry’s 3-Step System for Stopping Excessive Sweating
We’ve created a unique solution to excessive sweating, which I (Jack, the founder) developed while suffering from hyperhidrosis myself. I was tired of failing to stop my sweating with prescription-only treatment options and OTC “extra-strength” solutions, so I developed Duradry.
Here’s why Duradry is different from every other over the counter antiperspirant treatment: This starts with Duradry PM, which does the heavy lifting. This is an unscented gel containing 15% Aluminum Chloride, which is easily applied to your underarms at night, working to block pores while you sleep.
Then we have Duradry AM, our extra-strength everyday antiperspirant stick. And to make sure your skin is clean and prepared, Duradry Wash boosts the performance of our sweat control products by 20%.
Our 3-Step System
With Duradry, you get a proven process to combat your hyperhidrosis.
• We offer the best strength-effectiveness ratio. Studies show that 15% Aluminum Chloride is just as effective as 20%, and it’s less likely to cause irritation.
• We balance our sweat-blocking formula with soothing ingredients, which also improve the efficacy of your treatment. For example, Duradry PM contains Salicylic Acid, which has been shown to reduce irritation in the affected area while improving sweat control.
• We use only the purest ingredients from reputable European sources. These ingredients have micronized particles to help them get into pores easier, and they’re low pH — making them more potent and effective for blocking sweat.
Duradry AM is designed for morning use. Put
Duradry AM on when you wake up
for protection you can rely on all day.
It contains 20% Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Glycine as an active ingredient, combined with moisture-absorbing arrowroot and odor-neutralizing sage derivatives.
Our custom formulation goes on easy and won't leave any marks on your clothes, and you can even choose between different scents when you order. Duradry AM is talc- and silicone-free. And while it is strong enough to keep you dry,
Duradry AM is also mild enough to prevent irritation
Duradry PM is a gel that combines 15% aluminum chloride, the most effective anti-sweat form of aluminum, with salicylic acid, a potent antibacterial compound. Apply Duradry PM on your underarms right before bedtime, and let it do its sweat-suppressing and odor-killing magic as you sleep.
Aluminum chloride is strong, but it can also be a bit harsh. Be sure to wash the product off completely the next morning with Duradry Wash.
Used as part of Duraday’s 3-step system, Duradry PM will help an overwhelming number of hyperhidrosis sufferers achieve a drier and more comfortable quality of life.
Infused with vitamins and minerals from wholesome
ingredients, Duradry Wash
deodorizes your skin, removes odor-causing bacteria, and inhibits its growth. Bergamot and grapefruit, powerful natural deodorizers, take care of body odor before it can start. Avocado oil and olive extract help keep your skin hydrated.
To take the best advantage of Duradry Wash’s natural minerals and nutrients, use it right after you shower. Just a tiny bit under each arm goes a long way toward a fresher day! Duraday Wash prepares your skin for the Duraday antiperspirants and is an integral part of Duraday's 3-step system.
Why People Love Duradry
97% of our users experience complete dryness within one week of using Duradry’s easy 3-step system. You can get started by ordering Duradry online for just $20, and if you’re not happy with the results, we’ll give you a full refund — no questions asked.
Final Takeaways: How to Treat Hyperhidrosis Over-the-Counter
If you want to stop excessive sweating without having to go to a healthcare professional, you’ll need a robust topical treatment containing Aluminum Chloride. Oral medication to stop sweating is a no-go without medical advice and a prescription, and the big brand over-the-counter antiperspirant simply won’t do the job. Instead, you should be looking at specialist hyperhidrosis treatments.
Duradry’s simple 3-step system offers you a non-prescription treatment that actually works. As well as being able to make a one-off purchase, you can also get Duradry on a subscription basis — delivered discreetly to your door. This means we send you the right amount of product at the right time, so you never have to worry or plan ahead. And you can cancel anytime.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Medication for Hyperhidrosis?
You will not be able to buy effective anti-sweat pills over the counter. While a number of medications can reduce sweating, all of them will require a prescription and a trip to the pharmacy. Your doctor will assess your case, consider any other underlying medical conditions and medications, and provide you with a prescription for the pill that best meets your needs. Anticholinergics are the most frequently prescribed oral treatment for hyperhidrosis.
How Do I Permanently Get Rid of Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a permanent condition. While there are methods for diminishing sweat, they won't stop your sweating 100%. (Nor would you want them to, given the role of perspiration in thermoregulating your body).
Prescription antiperspirants like Drysol can help control excessive sweating. These antiperspirants contain high levels of aluminum chloride that block your sweat glands.
A doctor can prescribe hyperhidrosis pills that can reduce sweating by up to 80%. These have provided sweat relief to many hyperhidrosis sufferers, but you cannot take these pills if you have certain medical conditions.
In the most serious cases, doctors can even treat hyperhidrosis with Botox or surgery.
Do Pills for Hyperhidrosis Work?
Doctors can prescribe a number of different pills to stop sweating. Anticholinergics can be used off-label for hyperhidrosis, and many patients report less sweating after taking anticholinergic pills.
If your hyperhidrosis is caused by anxiety, you may get relief from beta-blockers like propranolol or from anti-anxiety medications. Other hyperhidrosis patients have found relief with gabapentin or clonidine. Consult your physician about the different pharmacological options available for hyperhidrosis.
What Oral Medication for Hyperhidrosis Can I Use?
Anticholinergics are a popular and effective anti-sweat medication. Several studies have shown that anticholinergics like Oxybutynin, Glycopyrrolate, Propantheline, and Benztropine can reduce sweating and improve the quality of life in patients suffering from hyperhidrosis.
Anticholinergics work by blocking acetylcholine, a neurochemical that (among other functions) activates the sweat glands. Because they can also lead to serious side effects like constipation, urinary retention, overheating, and heart palpitations, anticholinergics are only available by prescription.
What Can I Take Over the Counter for Sweating?
If you don’t want to take prescription medicine for sweating, there are many effective antiperspirants available. While deodorants merely neutralize odor, antiperspirants temporarily close sweat pores and help reduce perspiration. Aluminum is the active ingredient in antiperspirants.
Look for deodorants labeled "Clinical Strength" or "Extra Strength" for higher concentrations of sweat-stopping aluminum compounds. If these do not work for you, don't worry! There are a number of prescription and non-prescription options available.
What is the Strongest Over the Counter Antiperspirant?
There is no over-the-counter medicine for excessive sweating and, by law, over-the-counter antiperspirants can contain no more than 15% aluminum chloride. But most OTC antiperspirants use less effective formulations and contain no aluminum chloride at all.
Duradry PM is made with 15% aluminum chloride. Apply at night, then wash it off with Duradry Wash and start your morning with Duradry AM for a complete over-the-counter sweating solution.
What is the Best Oral Medication for Hyperhidrosis?
Anticholinergic drugs are the most popular medication for patients suffering from hyperhidrosis. Although these medications have a long history of use and are safe and effective if taken responsibly, they require a doctor's prescription.
Anticholinergics have many of the same side effects as the closely related antihistamines, like dry mouth and lethargy. But because they also slow the frequency of urination, anticholinergics should not be used by people with urinary retention or kidney issues.
How Can I Stop Sweating Without Antiperspirant?
While you cannot buy anti-sweat pills over the counter, prescription anticholinergics can be an effective way of controlling hyperhidrosis. Anticholinergics reduce sweating by blocking the receptors that stimulate your sweat glands.
Other prescription alternatives include beta-blockers that affect the physical symptoms of anxiety and reduce sweating. Because these medications can have a number of unpleasant side effects, they require a prescription and should only be taken under medical supervision.