by Jonathan Chadwick
Botox injections can reduce anxiety by up to 72 per cent, surprise findings from a new study reveal.
Scientists in California have found reductions in anxiety symptoms for people receiving Botox, regardless of where it was injected.
Botox, or Botulinum toxin, a medication derived from a bacterial toxin, is injected to ease wrinkles, migraines, muscle spasms, excessive sweating and incontinence.
It’s not clear how exactly it reduces symptoms of anxiety, although researchers speculate botulinum toxins may be transported to the regions of the central nervous systems involved in mood and emotions.
If Botox is commonly used to treat chronic conditions that may contribute to anxiety – for example, wrinkles – its success in relieving the underlying problem may indirectly also relieve anxiety.
Clinical trials will be necessary to establish the best site and dose to administer Botox specifically for anxiety, according to the study authors.
The research was performed by experts at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego, in collaboration with two physicians from Germany.
More than one million Britons get Botox injections every year, and the procedure is even more common in the US.
The potential dangers of Botox, including pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site, headaches, droopy eyelids, drooling and eye dryness – have been well-documented.
‘A large number of diverse adverse effects are being reported to the FDA and the main objective usually is to find those harmful side effects that had not been identified during clinical trials,’ said study author Ruben Abagyan, professor of pharmacy at University of California San Diego.
‘However, our idea was different. Why don’t we do the opposite? Why don’t we find beneficial effects?’
For the study, Abagyan and colleagues studied the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Adverse Effect Reporting System (FAERS) database.
FAERS contains over 16.5 million individual reports of negative effects after taking various medications – among them, reports from nearly 40,000 people of what happened to them after Botox treatment, taken for a variety of reasons.