Other Names for this Disease
- Apocrine miliaria
- Fox-Fordyce syndrome
- Miliaria, apocrine
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Your QuestionHow is Fox-Fordyce disease treated? Are there over-the-counter drugs that will help? What can I do for maintanence?
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Questions on this page
Fox-Fordyce disease is a chronic skin disease most common in women aged 13-35 years. It is characterized by the development of intense itching in the underarm area, the pubic area, and around the nipple of the breast as a result of perspiration which becomes trapped in the sweat gland and surrounding areas. The cause is unknown, but heat, humidity, and stress appear to be exacerbating factors. Retinoids, antibiotics, and immunosuppressants have had limited success in controlling the symptoms.
Last updated: 4/25/2011
Individuals with Fox-Fordyce disease should consult with a dermatologist regarding treatment. Some of the recent treatments for the FFD include: interlesional glucocorticoids, topical steroids, oral and topical retinoids, topical clindamycin, topical pimecrolimus cream, benzoyl peroxide, oral antibiotics and contraceptives or antiandrogenic hormonal therapy. Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus, both with significant anti-inflammatory activity and low side-effects, have provided rapid improvement in a limited number of cases. Other forms of treatment used are ultraviolet radiation (phototherapy), dermabrasion, liposuction and surgical excision. Immunosuppressants have been utilized with modest success. For individuals who do not respond to medications, destruction or removal of the apocrine sweat glands (glands that surround hair follicles) has been effective in some cases. 
Last updated: 8/1/2014
Fox-Fordyce disease is a chronic condition. Once relief has been achieved, long-term, low-dose therapy is recommended. Individuals with Fox-Fordyce disease should avoid activities that can lead to sweating.
Last updated: 3/30/2009
After an extensive search of the resources currently available, there are no reports of over-the-counter medications which have been used to manage this condition. We recommend that you consult with a dermatologist for further information regarding treatment of Fox-Fordyce disease.
Last updated: 3/30/2009
- White SW, Gorman CR. Fox-Fordyce Disease. eMedicine. January 12, 2007; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1070560-overview. Accessed 3/30/2009.
- Fox Fordyce Disease. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). 2000; http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdbdetail_abstract.html?disname=Fox%20Fordyce%20Disease. Accessed 3/30/2009.
- Yost, J., Robinson, M., & Meehan, S. A. Fox-Fordyce disease. Dermatology online journal. 2012; 18(12):http://escholarship.org/uc/item/6km4c88v. Accessed 7/31/2014.
- Fox-Fordyce disease. In: Oakley A. DermNet NZ. New Zealand: DermNet New Zealand Trust; 2014; http://www.dermnetnz.org/hair-nails-sweat/fox-fordyce.html. Accessed 7/31/2014.