People who received Botox (botulinum toxin) injections for certain conditions reported less depression less often compared to patients who did not receive the injections for a similar diagnosis, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports.
“For years, clinicians have observed that Botox injected for cosmetic reasons appears to relieve depression for their patients,” Ruben Abagyan, Ph.D., a pharmacy professor and one of the study’s lead researchers, said in a statement.
“It was thought to alleviate the severe frown lines in the forehead region disrupting a feedback line that reinforces negative emotions. But here we found that the mechanism can be more complex because it doesn̵7;t matter where the injection is injected. Botox, “the author stated in a news release.
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The research team at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of San Diego in Sin Diego through a U.S. Food and Drug Database (FDA) of the Adverse Effects Administration (FAERS) to see the side effects reported by nearly 40,000 people who have received Botox Injections for various reasons, according to a news release from the university.
The treatments were not only in the forehead but included several different sites, including the neck, legs and forehead. The release stated that the researchers used an algorithm to find statistically significant differences between patients who used Botox and those who were not for the same issue.
The researchers found that depression was reported 40 to 88 percent less often than Botox users for six of the eight conditions and injection sites, according to the release.
“This finding is exciting because it supports a new treatment to affect mood and fight depression, one of the most common and dangerous mental illnesses – and is based on a large body of statistical data, rather than limited-scale observations, Tigran Makunts, PharmD, one of the researchers in the study, stated in the release.
More research is needed to determine how Botox potentially acts as an anti-depressant, according to the study. Researchers have a few theories that need further investigation. For example, Botox is being systemically absorbed to the central nervous system, which is involved in the mood or emotions, they hypothesized, or possibly Botox indirectly affecting a person’s depression because Botox has helped alleviate an underlying chronic condition. which may have been a contributing factor to the patient’s depression.
Health experts say Botox is commonly used not only for cosmetic reasons, such as fighting wrinkles, but also for muscle spasms, tight muscles, migraines, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, as well as conditions others including excessive sweating and bladder conditions.
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The FAERS data used in this study were not collected exclusively for the purpose of investigating the link between Botox and depression, according to the news release. The data represent only a subset of Botox users who have reported experiencing adverse side effects. The authors note that they excluded data from patients taking antidepressants; however, in some cases, the use of medications may not have been sufficiently reported.
The release stated that there is an ongoing clinical trial that is directly investigating Botox treatment for people with depression, but is only testing forehead injection sites. The authors said additional clinical trials are needed to investigate which site is best to inject specifically to treat depression.
According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that more than 264 million people worldwide experience depression.