Could Botox Help Depression?

Shirley Amy
September 9, 2020
botox and depression

By analyzing the FDA database of adverse drug effects, researchers discovered that people who received Botox injections (not just in the forehead) reported depression significantly less often than patients undergoing different treatments for the same conditions.

The WHO notes that over 264 million people across the world experience depression. This most unwelcome condition is often treated with psychotherapy, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

However, the fact of the matter is that these methods are not effective for close to one-third of sufferers. This is why researchers and clinicians are looking outside the box for therapeutic alternatives, such as: ketamine infusions, transcranial magnetic stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy, and, more recently, Botox injections in the forehead.

So should being wrinkle-free and feeling less depressed, be the new go-for treatment? Let’s take a look at the research and find out.

According to recent research undertaken by Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego, “Botox injections may lessen depression, and the FDA database of drug side effects indicates the benefit may hold up no matter where Botox is injected”.

So What is Botox Exactly?

This is a medication which is obtained from a bacterial toxin. It is routinely injected into men and women for the purpose of: reducing the appearance of wrinkles; as well as easing incontinence, excessive sweating, muscle spasms, and migraines.

Forehead injection of Botox is currently being tested in clinical trials for its ability to treat depression.

The scientists involved in the study, which was recently reported in Scientific Reports, mined the FDA’s Adverse Effect Reporting System database in order to determine what approximately 40,000 Botox participants reported after they received the treatment for various reasons.

After a through analysis, the team realized that those who had botox injections at six different regions (not solely the forehead) reported depression significantly less often than patients undergoing different treatments for the same conditions.

Study lead, professor of pharmacy, Ruben Abagyan, PhD, noted that for years, clinicians have observed that Botox injected for cosmetic reasons seems to ease depression for their patients.

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.

Other team members included: Tigran Makunts, PharmD, who is now employed as a research fellow at the Food and Drug Administration, and Dr Marc Axel Wollmer, a well known researcher and psychiatrist in German. Wollmer has headed previous clinical trials in which Botox was shown to ameliorate depression.

The Stats

The statistics of the analysis of the 40,000 botox participants’ reports, indicted that Depression was reported 40 to 88 percent less often by Botox-treated patients for six of the eight conditions and injection sites.

This prompted Makunts to remark that 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. It is also based on a very large body of statistical data, rather than limited-scale observations.

Shirley Amy

Shirley Amy is a Holistic Health Specialist and professional writer who's published 4 books. Her  interests include optimum wellness, mental health, fitness, and positive lifestyle change. She holds University and College qualifications in the fields of Health Science, Nutrition, Mental Health, Fitness, Holistic Therapy and Aromatherapy.

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