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Eric Finzi, MD, PhD
Botox Treatment For Clinical Depression?
Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center

Botox Treatment For Clinical Depression?

In spite of advances in our understanding and treatment of major depression over the past few decades, many individuals continue to suffer. More than a quarter of the population may suffer from depression at some point in their lifetime. Depression is a recurrent and protracted illness that seriously interferes with one's ability to live a normal life. Recent studies have shown that at least half of patients remain depressed after treatment with a typical antidepressant. Many patients will experience only a partial response and continue to experience residual symptoms. This is a major concern as patients with residual symptoms continue to have difficulties sleeping, working, and interacting with loved ones. Depression is a disease that destroys one's vitality and can ruin all aspects of life. Prolonged sadness also puts depressed patients at a higher risk for heart attacks and cancer.

Despite the serious implications of depression, many patients remain untreated or inadequately treated after the diagnosis is made. Less than half of all patients who are depressed receive adequate treatment for their condition. Unfortunately many patients suffer adverse side effects from medications, which cause them to discontinue treatment. Patients who prematurely discontinue treatment may be at greater risk for depression relapse and have poorer long-term outcomes. Therefore, new and effective treatments are needed for this serious disease.

Five years ago we published results from a small clinical trial showing that Botulinum Toxin A (Botox) injection into the frown muscles of depressed patients was associated with improvement in depressed mood for nine out of the ten participants. More than half of the patients had tried or were currently using at least one antidepressant medication at the time of their treatment with Botox. The results of this open-label study (everyone knew they were receiving Botox) suggest the contraction of the frown muscles may contribute to sad thoughts and a depressed mood. Botox is able to prevent the contraction of the frown muscles, and is FDA-approved for this use.

In order to obtain more data about the potential usefulness of Botox as a treatment for clinical depression, we have started a larger randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effect of Botox on patients who are suffering from depression. We are currently recruiting patients, ages 18-65, who are clinically depressed. All patients are screened by Board-Certified psychiatrists to determine their eligibility for the study. Subjects who qualify for the study receive Botox into their frown muscles at either their first or second visit. All physician visits, and Botox treatments are at no charge. If you or a loved one is interested in this study, please contact Capital Clinical Research Associates at 301-770-7375 or go towww.MoreThanSadness.comfor more information.

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