Could depression be treated with Botox?

April 1, 2014

In the largest randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study to date on the effect of OnabotulinumtoxinA (as known as Botox) on depression, researchers found that more than half of subjects suffering from moderate to severe depression showed a substantial improvement (greater than or equal to 50% of baseline) in their depressive symptoms as measured by the MADRS scale.

The study, conducted by Dr. Eric Finzi, MD, PhD and Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, MD and published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, included 74 depressed subjects injected with a single treatment of either onabotulinumtoxinA (OBA) or a placebo to the corrugator and procerus muscles between the eyebrows. Results showed that (as assessed by the MADRS scale) in the OBA treatment group decreased 47 percent after six weeks, compared to 21 percent in the placebo group. This study is the first to show a significant difference in remission rate with OBA in depressed patients (27% OBA vs. 7% ).

Study co-author Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School, commented, "This research is groundbreaking because it offers those who suffer from and their doctors an entirely new approach to treating the condition - one that doesn't conflict with any other treatments."

The study showed that Botox may help relieve depressive symptoms both as a stand-alone and an adjunctive treatment.

"This new research supports earlier facial feedback theory of Charles Darwin and William James which suggests that facial expressions influence mood," added Dr. Eric Finzi, Dermasurgeon and co-author on the paper that first reported that inhibition of frowning by facial injection of OBA could help depressed patients in a pilot study published in 2006.

Explore further: Molecular imaging links systemic inflammation with depression

More information: This article "Treatment of depression with onabotulinumtoxinA: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial" by Eric Finzi and Norman E. Rosenthal, is published in Journal of Psychiatric Research, Volume 52 (May 2014).

Related Stories

Varenicline helps smokers with depression to quit smoking

September 16, 2013

About half of smokers seeking treatment for smoking cessation have a history of depression. Compared with smokers who are not depressed, those who suffer from a major depressive disorder (MDD) have greater difficulty quitting.

Recommended for you

Repeating aloud to another person boosts recall

October 6, 2015

Repeating aloud boosts verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person, says Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal's Department of Linguistics and Translation. His findings are the ...

Men more likely to be seen as 'creative thinkers'

September 28, 2015

People tend to associate the ability to think creatively with stereotypical masculine qualities, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.