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Summary: Many people think the only use for BOTOX is to get rid of wrinkles and try to look younger. The word BOTOX makes them think of someone who can’t move their face. Little do they know, BOTOX is extremely versatile and has helped many people overcome battles in their life other than aging.

For years, the word “BOTOX” has been synonymous with wrinkle relief. But did you know that this wonder drug started out as a treatment for twitchy eyelids and other conditions caused by spastic muscles? According to the website of Dr. Sandeep Jejurikar, a plastic surgeon who administers BOTOX at his office near Naperville, Illinois, the product’s active ingredient relaxes the muscles that cause wrinkles and other small muscle movements.

Although it was approved for cosmetic use by the FDA several years ago, BOTOX is still one of the nation’s most popular non-surgical aesthetic treatments thanks to a combination of effectiveness, safety, and relative affordability. But BOTOX doesn’t stop at wrinkles. It seems like every time we turn around, there’s a new study announcing yet another use for the drug. Here’s a roundup of a few of the latest.

  • Sturdier skin: A 2015 study out of Canada found that BOTOX improved both the pliability and elasticity of skin for up to 4 months. Elasticity and pliability are qualities typically found in younger skin — they prevent sagging and laxity and literally enable skin to “bounce back.” Unfortunately the aging process robs our skin of its pliability and elasticity, causing things to head south. The results of the Canadian study point to BOTOX being more of an anti-aging powerhouse than we originally thought.
  • Fewer bathroom breaks: Because BOTOX works by temporarily relaxing muscles, it’s often used to treat conditions caused by overactive muscles — including overactive bladder, a condition that causes urinary frequency, urgency, and, occasionally, incontinence. Two different studies revealed that BOTOX injections can reduce the incidence of incontinence episodes. And 40% of participants in one of the studies opted to have additional BOTOX injections after the study concluded, suggesting their satisfaction with the therapy.
  • Beating the blues: In a scientific twist that sounds nearly too good to be true, it’s recently been suggested that BOTOX can reduce some of the symptoms of clinical depression. Although it’s still a bit soon for injections to start replacing SSRIs, a recent article in Forbes summarizes a presentation made at this year’s meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. In short, there’s significant evidence that shows patients who had BOTOX administered to their foreheads experienced a drop in depression-related symptoms. Some patients even said their depression went into complete remission. Although a larger study is still in progress, it’s decidedly possible that we could someday see BOTOX mentioned in the same breath as Prozac.
  • Safer surgery: Atrial fibrillation, an irregularity in the way the heart beats, is particularly dangerous to patients who have recently undergone coronary bypass surgery. Unfortunately, there are no current therapies available to prevent atrial fibrillation after surgery — but BOTOX is showing promise. Russian researchers injected BOTOX into the heart’s fat pads during bypass surgery. Impressively, patients who received BOTOX eliminated their risk of atrial fibrillation for nearly a year after surgery, dramatically improving their survival odds and overall well-being after the procedure. Researchers are pleased with these initial findings and hopeful for more surgical applications of BOTOX in the future.
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