August 20, 2020
I hope you are doing well and staying healthy during these difficult and unprecedented times. I wanted to share some new research with you about an interesting and frankly exciting, side effect of Botox® (Botulinum Toxin). The journal, Scientific Reports, July 2020, published the results of a large study of over 40,000 patients out of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California San DIego. What they found was that patients receiving Botox® to treat a variety of conditions, not just for cosmetic purposes, reported significantly less rates of depressive symptoms then those being treated for the same conditions with different treatment modalities. Click for a link to a copy of the article.
Depression rates were reported to be 40%-80% lower in the Botox® group, compared to alternative treatments. The study looked at Botox® injections for cosmetic purposes in the forehead, urinary issues in the bladder, neck muscle spasms, limb muscle spasms, armpits and hands for hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating) and migraine prophylaxis. What they found is that it doesn’t seem to matter where or why you get Botox® injected into your body to have improvement in rates of depression when compared to other treatment options for multiple chronic conditions.
There are a few theories about why this happens, but researchers are still trying to figure out what the mechanism of action is. It may be as simple as if you make someone’s “pain” go away from the chronic condition they are seeking help for, they will naturally be less depressed, because they are no longer experiencing the discomfort of their condition.
Whether its wrinkles in the face or chronic migraines, if you get relief of your symptoms, you are going to feel better. This theory, however, does not explain why it is better at reducing depression rates than other treatments for similar conditions. This brings up the idea that something is happening in the central nervous system with Botox® injections that is somehow helpful in preventing depression symptoms, but we don’t understand yet why this is? More studies are currently looking for the answers to these questions.
More than 264 million people worldwide experience depression. Only a small percentage (<5%) of the population actually gets Botox®! That number surprises me as well! Sometimes it seems like everyone gets Botox®, but really a relaively small percentage does compared to the number of people who experience depression of some form. Treatment for depression usually involves psychotherapy, antidepressants, lifestyle and health changes and in extreme situations, hospitalization. As you know, antidepressants have significant side effects from low libido and weight gain, to increased suicide rate, in some. They also don’t often work very well in many people.
It is very exciting to me, that something as simple, common and safe as Botox®, can reduce depression symptoms and potentially save lives! In 2018, there were 48,344 recorded suicides in the U.S. alone. Another shocking statistic is the annual suicide rate in the U.S., increased 24% between 1999 and 2014! This is despite an ever-increasing arsenal of medications available from the phamaceutical industry to treat depressive disorders. There are also multiple other social and political issues regarding treatment availability for the mentally ill that I am not going to get into right now, that clearly play a role in these increasing statistics.
I am certainly not saying that Botox® will cure all depression and prevent suicide worldwide, but if it helps more than other available treatments with far less side effects and an extraordinary safety profile, while at the same time helping boost your confidence in your appearance, then everyone should consider a little Botox® in their forehead!
I’m going to get a little personal here now, so you have a better understanding of where some of my passion and interest in much of what I do comes from. My mother suffered from a depressive disorder that was worsened and complicated by, what I have come to believe, was untreated premature menopause. After several years of suffering with little relief from available treatments at the time, she took her own life at the age of 42yrs old. There weren’t very many medication options in the early 70’s to treat depression and very little understanding or treatment of premature menopause, compared to today. Botox wasn’t a thing yet either. I believe that if current treatment modalities existed then, as they do now, she would have certainly suffered less, been healthier and happier and may still be alive today to enjoy an active elderly life and her grandchildren.
So, you can see how my path may have been influenced by a desire, from deep within, to help alleviate some of the suffering and pain in others, that was not an option for my own young mother.
At my office, I have built a practice around not only wanting to alleviate pain and suffering, but also to improve the health and happiness of my patients in multiple ways. I look at the whole person and address all of the issues that contribute to health and well being. Botox® for wrinkles is just one way I do that. Other aspects of my practice include ways to replace or optimize your hormones naturally and safely with Biote® pellets and other forms of hormone therapy. I also treat gynecologic condiotions and urinary incontinence with multiple modalities like O-Shots®, ThermiVa® and Emsella®. I treat sexual dysfunction as well as sexual function enhancement for both men and women, also with multiple modalities like O-Shots®, P-Shots®, Biote® Natural Hormone replacement, ThermiVa®, Emsella® and in-office, cosmetic and reconstructive gynecologic procedures. Many of the treatments I offer, ultimately result in improved love relationships, which is another one of my many goals and passions.
I have seen many patients benefit from other wellness treatments and immune boosters like IV nutritional drips, Immune Boosting Vitamin and Supplement Injections,like Meyer’s Cocktails and Tri-immune Boost (Vitamin C, Zinc and Glutathione), B12 injections. Amazing, almost unbelievable newer and cutting edge Regenerative modalities such as nebulized or injected Amnion or Exosomes and multiple procedures utilizing the regenerative capacity of your own body through autologous PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) have resulted in improvement in chronic conditipns of some of my patients that have not found relief with any other therapy.
I have passion for art as well as medicine,(I was almost an art major in college, rather than a Biology student) which has made it a natural part of my evolution to become an expert at facial and body aesthetic procedures as well, such as the Vampire Facial®, Vampire Facelift® and Vampire Breastlift®. I also offer muscle building and toning, body sculpting with Emsculpt®, making staying toned and fit when the gyms are closed or maybe don’t feel safe, still possible. Weight loss and fitness strategies are also part of what I do for my patients. As well as addressing the importance of healthy habits for the mind and soul.
So Botox® is wonderful and now we can help alleviate some symptoms of depression while treating forehead wrinkles, but as you can see, there is much, much more to living with joy rather than sadness. It brings me immense joy to offer a whole arsenal of modalities to combine, pick and chose from, that result in a happier, healthier and overall less depressed patient. When you look good and feel good, your life will naturally improve beyond what you could ever imagine!
I want you to know you are safe to come to my office during these strange times. We are at all times practicing all the current recommended safety guidelines for seeing patients in the office, including masks, temperature checks, one patient in the office at a time and extensive sanitization protocols. There is not a safer place to go right now during this time of social distancing, then my office. If you are experiencing the need to relieve your stress, reduce anxiety and depression or just want to look and feel better, now is the time to do it! A little Botox® right now, may be just what you need to lift your spirits while we wait out this pandemic.
As always, may your day be filled with peace, joy and love.
Alexandra Runnels, MD