Surprising Uses of Botox You Didn’t Know About
This is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world today. When they hear the word, most people immediately think of smoothing wrinkles. Indeed, Botox is used for skin enhancing in the majority of cases; however, this powerful toxin can be used for a number of non-cosmetic procedures as well.
Derived from one of the deadliest toxins ever known, Botox has amazed the medical community over and over again; it seems that its application is endless. Currently, Botox injections are approved for several cosmetic procedures and nine medical ones. Allergan, the company that owns Botox, holds around 800 patents for its potential uses.
The common practice in the U.S. is that when a drug gets approved for a certain medical condition, doctors can legally prescribe it for any other condition they think the drug could treat. It doesn’t matter if the drug hasn’t been proven to work for that specific condition.
There are many conditions that Botox can treat; some of them have been FDA approved while others haven’t. Botox has a powerful effect on numerous conditions; there is no doubt about that. Keep reading if you are interested in learning about surprising uses of Botox you probably haven’t heard of.
Botox can help treat an overactive bladder by decreasing one’s urge to urinate. Dr. Linda Brubaker conducted a study where she treated women who had overactive bladder with Botox; around 70% of treated women reported three urinations per day, compared to five at the beginning of the study.
The treatment requires caution, though; too much Botox can shut down the bladder. In that case, a patient would end up needing a catheter. Nevertheless, this treatment is considered successful and has thus been approved by the FDA.
When vocal cords spasm, patients can experience tremor and dysphonia. To improve the quality of their voice, doctors can inject Botox into patients’ vocal cords through their throat and help weaken the spasm and relax the muscles. The procedure is relatively painless and quick; patients can go home immediately after.
Migraines are infamous for being nearly impossible to treat and also for being difficult to endure. So, imagine how joyous the patients suffering from migraines were when they heard that there was a remedy for their condition. Botox works by preventing the transmission of pain signals to the nerve endings. Even though this procedure is relatively new, the FDA approved it quickly, and it is now widely accepted.
When patients who were treated for facial spasms showed decreased sweating, scientists became interested. Research showed that a condition called primary axillary hyperhidrosis could be successfully treated with Botox. The underarm area is most commonly treated, but hands and feet react to the treatment well too. Botox is injected with a fine needle beneath the skin into the sweat glands where it blocks the release of the chemical responsible for activating the glands.
Ophthalmologists have been using Botox to successfully treat an eye condition called strabismus for years; it is a safe and highly effective way to change the position of the eyes. The effect isn’t long-lasting, though; patients have to redo the treatment every three to four months. However, after repeated application, results tend to last longer.
In teenagers and adults, a local anesthetic is used, and Botox is injected directly into the eye muscle with a special needle. When a child needs the treatment, doctors use ketamine or a general anesthetic.
Severe Neck Spasms
Abnormal head position and severe neck pain are symptoms of cervical dystonia, a condition that Botox successfully treats. The FDA approved this use even before approving Botox for frown lines between the eyebrows in 2002.
Premature Ejaculation and Erectile Dysfunction
Allergan is currently testing the effectiveness of Botox in relation to premature ejaculation. Injecting Botox into the penis may help relax the muscles and delay ejaculation. However, the FDA still hasn’t approved the use of Botox for the condition. In addition, Allergan also holds a patent for the treatment of erectile dysfunction with the toxin.
This is a sensitive topic that has many experts skeptical. However, early trials suggest that Botox may reduce symptoms in people with depression. A small study including 74 people with serious depressive disorders found that 52% of those who received Botox reported a drop in symptoms six weeks later. Allergan is carrying out clinical trials at the moment to see if Botox can really treat depression.
While we typically administer Botox injections for cosmetic purposes, we hope you found the above cases as interesting and surprising as we did! We’d love to help you with any of your skin care needs, just contact us through our website or give us a call at (212) 444-8204.
Arash Akhavan, MD is founder and owner of The Dermatology and Laser Group, one of the top centers for cosmetic procedures in New York City for over a decade. Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD is a Board Certified Dermatologist and an Associate Professor at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Akhavan is a Castle Connolly Top Doc, New York Magazine Best Doctor, and Super Doctor featured in The New York Times. Dr. Akhavan is a key opinion leader that has been featured on hundreds of media publications including The New York Times, Allure, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, ABC News, Fox News, Fox 5, NY1, WPIX, and more. He has been featured on nationally syndicated television programs such as The Doctors.
Dr. Akhavan serves as an educator and lecturer for multiple aesthetic device and injectable companies. This allows his office access to newer technologies at an earlier date than other offices, as well as a higher level of expertise in the use of these devices. This, in turn, translates to more effective and safer treatments for our patients.