Botox against migraine and depression?! What can the all-rounder do?
Since its approval more than 25 years ago, Botox has made a successful career in the beauty industry. What is surprising is the fact that today more than half of its sales are achieved through therapeutic applications for diseases and that it is currently approved for the treatment of as many as 15 diseases. Today, for example, Botox is used to treat migraines, but also depression.
The rise from bacterium to drug began in 1993 with the first approval as a treatment for eyelid spasms. So originally used therapeutically, it was rather by chance that the beauty discovery was made that the treatment on the eye also had a wrinkle-reducing effect. As in aesthetic practice, the medical application of the nerve agent is based on its ability to inhibit muscle contractions or paralyze muscles.
Botox – the bacterial multi-talent
Botox can be used as a therapy option, for example, for excessive sweating to paralyze the sweat glands, for jaw muscle relaxation in the case of teeth grinding, for hand and foot spasticity after a stroke, for urinary incontinence, to dampen hyperactivity of the bladder muscle or for erectile dysfunction.
Botox against depression – not only smoother but also happier
Botox also acts as an antidepressant. And the feelings of happiness in this context have nothing to do with the better appearance after the treatment. The interaction of facial expressions and emotions, the so-called facial feedback, underlies the happiness effect here. In fact, the toxin paralyzes the muscle that amplifies negative emotions, allowing the patient to experience more positive feelings again.
Injections are made into the glabellar region between the eyebrows. This prevents the forehead from becoming wrinkled with worry. Patients usually respond to the therapy after about two weeks and experience a significant brightening of their mood. Although research is currently underway and promising results are already available, Botox is still in off-label use as a remedy for depression and has no official indication approval. Those who want to use Botox to get out of their depression must therefore bear the costs themselves.
Botox against migraine – headache adé!
In 1992, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. William Binder noticed a positive additional effect in patients whose wrinkles he had made disappear with Botox: they had fewer headaches. This is because the injections can induce relaxation of those muscles that cause the dreaded migraine pain.
Botox has been approved as a drug for migraines since 2010, with scientifically proven efficacy. For migraine prevention, patients receive about 30 injections in different areas of the head and neck; however, the amount injected is less than aesthetic treatments. If Botox is used for headaches, it must be refreshed every quarter. Health insurance companies pay for the treatment if the patient suffers from at least 15 headache days per month.
Botox – the new health all-rounder?
Often it’s not the insanely good genes that ensure a smooth brow and firm, youthful skin, even when you’re over 30, but a toxin that paralyzes nerves and reduces wrinkles. The rejuvenation treatment is now absolutely socially acceptable and popular, even among those who are not in the limelight. But Botox can do even more than inject people more beautifully. Experts now even refer to it as the “penicillin of the 21st century” – and without any irony. Because of its diverse mode of action, it has enormous application potential in medicine and especially in neurology.
Lead photo: Seth Doyle Photo:Kim Carpenter