Could Botox Treat Depression?
Research Findings of the Largest Clinical Trial to Date
Journal of Psychiatric Research To Publish Study in May 2014
Treatment of Depression with OnabotulinumtoxinA: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial
Authors: Eric Finzi, MD, PhD and Norman E. Rosenthal, MD
Published in Journal of Psychiatric Research, Volume 52 (May 2014)
Could Depression be Treated with Botox?
New study reports that patients injected with onabotulinumtoxinA demonstrated substantial improvement - over 50% - in their depressive symptoms.
In the largest randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study to date on the affect of OnabotulinumtoxinA (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 depressive symptoms (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% placebo).
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 depression 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.
About Eric Finzi, MD, PhD
About Norman E. Rosenthal, MD
Norman E. Rosenthal is the world-renowned psychiatrist, researcher and New York Times best-selling author of nine books, who first described seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneered the use of light therapy as a treatment during his twenty years at the National Institute of Mental Health. He has written or co-authored over 200 scholarly articles.
Face of Emotion
The Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Mood & Relationships by Eric Finzi
Eric Finzi, MD, PhD
Researcher, Author, Artist and Board-Certified Dermasurgeon
Norman E. Rosenthal, MD
Psychiatrist, Researcher, Author and the Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School
Face of Emotion
Dr. Eric Finzi's book, The Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Mood and Relationships, (published by Palgrave MacMillan, January, 2013) explains his groundbreaking research and study findings in narrative form, weaving personal stories and rich historical accounts to showcase how his theory came to light. Finzi's thinking, which dates back to Charles Darwin and William James's facial feedback theory, marshals together evidence from psychology, neuroscience, art, evolutionary biology, family and patients, to prove his idea that facial expressions are a central driving force of our emotions, and that there is an unlikely ally available in taming them: Botox.
Press for Face of Emotion & Botox for Depression Study Findings:
NY Times 2/25/13
Self magazine 2/1/13
The Atlantic 1/30/13
USA Today 1/26/13
New Scientist 1/22/13
NY Post 1/14/13
Dr. Drew 1/11/13
Daily Mail (UK) 12/29/12
NY Daily News 12/28/12
Time Mag 12/27/12
Dr. Finzi TV on YouTube:
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Notes for editors
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). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.11.006 published by Elsevier.
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