Study: botox should help against depression

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Botox injections should not only smooth wrinkles but also alleviate mental illnesses

It sounds almost a bit paradoxical: Botox injections of all things, which are generally associated with beauty corrections and exaggerated beauty ideals, are also said to help the psyche with depression. Scientists from Hanover and Basel found this out.

Botox reduced symptoms by at least half. 30 subjects took part in the study, the results of which were recently published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. The study participants were people with diagnosed depression against whom antidepressants did not have the desired effect. Half of the subjects received injections with botox (botulinum toxin), the other group received a placebo injection.

After only two weeks, the patients from the botox group showed significantly reduced symptoms. After a further four weeks, the symptoms had reduced by at least half in 60 percent of the participants. Significant improvements continued to appear until the end of the study after 16 weeks, while the placebo group showed little overall success, as reported by the Hannover Medical School (MHH).

A major advantage of treatment with Botox is, on the one hand, the effect that lasts for several weeks with just one injection and, on the other hand, the low side effects, reported Prof. Tillmann Krüger from the MHH Clinic for Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. "Botulinum toxin could become a new ingredient in depression treatment," said the psychiatrist. However, further studies are required before the treatment method can be used in everyday medical practice. It is particularly important to find out how exactly and under what conditions botox can relieve depression. Botox has been used for many years to treat neuromuscular disorders, such as eyelid cramps.

Botox is also said to alleviate migraines. Some study results have suggested that botox can be used as an effective remedy for migraines. The drug has already been approved for the treatment of migraine attacks in the USA and Great Britain. In Germany, too, a corresponding approval procedure was applied for by the drug authorities in the past year.

Studies have shown that injections in the patient's head and neck led to a significant improvement in his symptoms. The results of two “PREEMPT studies” (Phase III Research Evaluating Migraine Prophylaxis Therapy) showed that pain was reduced by a good half by botox injections. In addition, the subjects would have had to take fewer conventional headache tablets during botox therapy.

However, experts doubt whether the botox nerve poison (botulinum toxin) actually relieves the symptoms and reduces the occurrence of a chronic migraine. The editors of the "Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin" confronted the British pharmaceutical authorities with the allegation that they have approved the expensive neurotoxin, although the available data are still insufficient. According to the experts, the symptoms in one in ten patients would even get worse as a result of botox therapy. In about ten percent of cases, side effects such as severe itching, rashes, stiff neck and cramps would also occur. In rare cases, anaphylactic shock could even occur, which can lead to organ failure due to an overreaction of the immune system and can be life-threatening. (ag)

Also read:
Increased use of botox against wrinkles
Botox as a medicine for migraines?
Botox approved as a migraine remedy
Botox is said to help with chronic migraines
Magnetic impulses against migraines

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