Botox is less known for this, but it has a role to play in these conditions and can be a great relief for suitable patients. Individually these conditions may cause great distress to the patient and have an impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of the patient. It’s important to recognise these conditions and treat them when possible.
Botox for Depression
Many people may say that they are having a depression or they feel depressed. While this may be a true expression of how they feel, it may very well not be a what is understood as a clinical depression.
Clinical depression is often more severe and may include some or all of the following symptoms:
- A persistent feeling of being sad, anxious or just a felling of an “empty” mood
- A feeling of guilt, uselessness, worthlessness or helplessness
- A feeling of hopelessness or pessimism regarding “everything”
- Lack of interest or pleasure in any activities, including sex
- Loss of appetite and weight loss (or in some cases increased appetite and weight gain)
- Extreme fatigue and lack of energy
- Physical aches, pains and cramps often resistant to treatment
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering
- Inability to make decisions
- Inability to carry out daily life tasks such as work, cleaning, cooking etc
- Suicidal thoughts or a feeling of not deserving to be alive
- Suicidal attempts
As can be seen above, clinical depression is an overwhelming feeling where the patient is “trapped” in a condition or place from where he/she sees no escape.
There a number of anti-depressant medicines available and many patients can benefit greatly from these and get back to a manageable life or even be completely out of the depression. In some patients medicines are not sufficient and electro-shock may be used.
Some patients have a very prolonged depression with little or no effect of the traditional treatments.
There are a number of studies indicating a good response to Botox to treat depression that otherwise have been resistant to traditional anti-depressive treatments. In one such study, 47% of the patients being treated with Botox had a reduction in their depressive symptoms while the placebo group only had a reduction of 9%. Keep in mind this is a group of patient that had a very prolonged/chronic depression that was resistant to traditional anti-depressive treatment and they only received one single injection Botox.
More research is needed to establish the role of Botox in the treatment of depression. At present, we recommend considering Botox for patients that are otherwise hard to treat, whether it’s due to lack of compliance following the prescribed medicine or it’s due to lack of effect of the medicine.
Botox for migraine
Botox is also a FDA approved preventive treatment for chronic migraines. The criteria would often be a history of migraine combine with a high incidence of headaches of which some are migraine. In one study nearly 50% of the patient who had two rounds of botox had reduced the frequency of headaches to half the frequency before the treatment. After 4 rounds of botox treatments nearly 70% of the patients reported that the frequency of headaches was nearly down to 50%.
Although Botox has a role to play in cases of migraine, the more traditional medicines should be used as a first line treatment.
Botox for hyperhydrosis
Hyperhydrosis, excessive sweating, can principally occur on any part of the body, though it most often affect the hands, feet, armpits and groins. Although, it’s widely harmless in relation to overall physical health, it can be very bothersome and greatly affect the life quality of the affected patient. Botulinium toxin A (BTX-A) can effectively, though temporarily, block the nerve that activates the sweat glands.
However, as with botox for cosmetic purposes, the effect is only temporary and the treatment would need to be repeated after 3-6 months. Regardless, it can be of great relief to the patient even if maintenance treatment is required.