Generally, Botox is believed to only be used to smooth wrinkles and eliminate frown lines on the face but Allergan, the company that owns Botox, holds almost 800 additional patents for possible uses of the drug. Here are some of the other uses for Botox:
FDA Approved Uses of Botox
- Underarm Sweating – Botox is able to treat a condition known as severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis came as doctors noticed that patients treated for facial spasms were actually sweating less. In 2004, the FDA approved Botox as a treatment for underarm sweating and to treat overly sweaty hands and feet. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, when small doses of Botox are injected into the skin, they block nerves that supply the eccrine glands which prevent the glands from producing sweat. The results have been shown to reduce underarm sweating by 82\\%-87\\% percent and may last up to a year.
- Cross-Eyes – Also known as Strabismus, Botox has been used to correct the position of the eyes since the 1970s. This disorder affects about 4\\% of Americans which made the FDA work to get it approved. Botox is vaccinated straight into the eye muscle to relax the muscle and cause the eye to refocus. Injections are done every 3 to 4 months but, after multiple treatments, the effects last a little longer.
- Neck Spasms – Even before the approval, Botox was used to treat neck spasms and frown lines located between the eyebrows. There is a condition called Cervical Dystonia known for its severe neck pain symptoms coupled with an abnormal position of the head. Botox has been used to treat this medical issue since 2000.
- Chronic Migraines – In 2010, the FDA approved Botox to treat chronic migraines in adults after tests were completed by Allergan. Migraines are categorized by intense pulsing or throbbing pain in some areas of the head and may be complemented by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.
- Overactive Bladder – A doctor in Chicago, Dr. Linda Brubaker discovered that 70\\% of the female patients she treated with Botox found their overactive bladder to only have around three leaks a day prior to the average five leaks a day at the start of the treatment. This health issue is also called Incontinence and it was said to have found its treatment through the use of Botox in a recent study of 381 women at the Duke University School of Medicine. This study proved that regular Botox injections worked better than a surgically implanted nerve stimulator to treat women with severe incontinence. Dr. Linda Brubaker, the lead author of the team, said “In my 30 years of medical practice, Botox was one of the most impactful treatments I had never seen”. However, Botox can sometimes seal the bladder too much and the doctor said people may need to use a catheter.
FDA Unapproved Uses of Botox
- Depression – Early trials propose that Botox may ease symptoms in people with depression. Many experts are still incredulous about the proposed mechanism which is based on the Facial Feedback Hypothesis which holds that the facial expressions of a person can influence their mood. In 2014, 74 people with major depressive disorder were studied after they received Botox. About 52\\% of people who received the Botox received a drop in symptoms six weeks later, compared with 15\\% of the people given a placebo. Clinical trials are still being conducted to see if Botox can treat depression.
- Premature Ejaculation – There is faint speculation that injecting Botox into the penis might relax the muscle and delay ejaculation. The company that produces Botox is conducting various tests and trials to know if this is true. The company also holds a manifest for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, which also is being tested in a third-party clinical trial.
- Abnormal Heartbeat – Dr. Mitchell Brin, senior vice president of Drug Development at Allergan and Chief Scientific Officer for Botox has this to say about the potential use of Botox for the treatment of abnormal heartbeat patterns. “After having a drug on the market for 27 years, and having a good understanding of the safety profile, we’ve made the decision to take it to an area of significant unmet need.''
- Severely Cold Hands – As performed by doctors at the Cold Hand Clinic at the University of Chicago, Botox is injected into a person’s hand in order to relax muscles that border constricted blood vessels which can result in poor circulation. Blood flows through the hand and into the fingertip when the vessels relax and enlarge. According to doctors at the clinic, the treatment can last up to three months.
- Painful Sex – Muscle spasms on the pelvic floor or contractions of the vagina makes sex painful for some women according to testimony about their experience. It has been confirmed that Botox injections can ease discomfort by relaxing the muscles and causing them to stop contracting. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic say some women need the injection every six months while others need them every couple of years.
It is interesting to know that research is constantly being conducted for the wide range of uses of Botox. Medical professionals are working hard to prove Botox has more uses than treating wrinkles and facial lines. It will be more interesting to revisit this topic and see how many uses Botox has in one to five or ten years.