Botox may be the go-to treatment for a smooth visage, but it could also help to lessen depression, according to new research.
Botox - a medication derived from a bacterial toxin – is also widely used to ease migraines, muscle spasms, excessive sweating and incontinence.
And now new research from the University of California San Diego has highlighted how it could help with depression.
"For years, clinicians have observed that Botox injected for cosmetic reasons seems to ease depression for their patients," said study author Ruben Abagyan, PhD, professor of pharmacy. "It's been thought that easing severe frown lines in forehead region disrupts a feedback loop that reinforces negative emotions. But we've found here that the mechanism may be more complex, because it doesn't really matter where the Botox is injected."
Testing the theory, Abagyan and his team from the university's Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences looked over data from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Adverse Effect Reporting System (FAERS), concentrating on what 40,000 people reported occurred after having Botox. The focus group’s Botox use was for a range of reasons over eight different injection sites, including forehead, neck, and bladder.
They found depression was reported 40 to 88 percent less often by Botox users for six of the eight conditions and injection sites they identified.
"This finding is exciting because it supports a new treatment to affect mood and fight depression, one of the common and dangerous mental illnesses - and it's based on a very large body of statistical data, rather than limited-scale observations," co-author Tigran Makunts said, with Abagyan adding more trials need to be done.
Results have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.