2 years ago
Botox has a strange, relatively brief history as a medical treatment. Botulinum-A was discovered in the 19th century in a bad batch of sausages. (Really: During the Napoleonic Wars, it was discovered in Germany during an investigation of sausage poisonings.) It was only in 1992 it started to be used for modern medical treatments. Now a new benefit has potentially been discovered: treating depression.
Botox, of course, came to prominence because of its use in temporarily paralyzing facial muscles as a wrinkle treatment. (Back in 2002, it was approved by the F.D.A. as a method for the temporary improvement of “frown lines.”) Now another use may be at hand.
Jason S. Reichenberg is the director of dermatology at the University of Texas-Austin. He is also co-author with his wife, psychiatrist Michelle Magid, of a study about Botox and depression in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
They discovered depression scores dropped 42 percent in patients who received Botox. It was only 15 percent in participants with a placebo. And no, this is not all related to the change in physical appearance. “Some of the patients in our studies didn’t like the way they looked with Botox, but were likely to see their depression get better,” Reichenberg notes.
This wouldn’t be the only significant-yet-unexpected benefit of Botox. It has already been found useful in the treatment of migraines.