From treating migraines to softening wrinkles and a whole lot in between, Botox’s therapeutic and cosmetic effects are nothing short of remarkable. And now, in a new study published today by Scientific Reports, researchers report that they may have found solid evidence of one additional positive attribute Botox can add to its resume: Treating depression.
The research team at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego, La Jolla went through FDA’s Adverse Effect Reporting System (FAERS) database to see what nearly 40,000 people reported happened to them post-Botox treatment (done for a variety of reasons), according to SciTechDaily.
What they discovered was that people who received Botox injections reported depression “significantly less often than patients undergoing different treatments for the same conditions”—to the tune of 40 to 88 percent less.
Even more surprising, it didn’t necessarily matter where the Botox was injected or the indication.
“For years, clinicians have observed that Botox injected for cosmetic reasons seems to ease depression for their patients,” said Ruben Abagyan, PhD, professor of pharmacy. “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.”
While Abagyan did stress more research is needed “to determine the mechanism by which Botox acts as an antidepressant,” but, with the World Health Organization estimating that more than 264 million worldwide experience depression, the new study is off to a promising start.