Botulinum Toxin (aka Botox) to Treat Depression? 3 Independent Studies Prove It’s Worth A Shot

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Leading Researchers on Botox for Depression, Including Dr. Eric Finzi, Dr. Alex Wollmer, Dr. Kruger Tillmann and Dr. Michelle Magid, to Present Data from Clinical Studies at the XVI World Congress of Psychiatry Meeting, on September 18th in Madrid, Spain

Botulinum toxin’s inhibition of frowning gives us a novel tool to influence mood. We believe that the brain monitors the state of contraction of facial muscles, and this feedback to the brain is powerful.

The authors of three independent double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials will present “Botulinum Toxin, An Emerging Therapeutic for Depression” and their respective research study findings to mental health professionals at the XVI World Congress of Psychiatry (WCP2014) meeting in Madrid, Spain, on September 18th from 12:45-13:30 in Room 11 at the Madrid Congress and Convention Center.

The WCP2014, organized by the World Psychiatric Association will take place September 14-18 in Madrid, and will focus on access, quality and humane care. Over ten thousand psychiatrists from all over the world are expected to be in attendance.

According to the World Health Organization, over 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally. As of 2012 in the United States, an estimated 16 million adults aged 18 or older had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Unfortunately, most people never seek treatment. Left undiagnosed and untreated, depression can worsen, cause untold suffering, and may even result in suicide.

Oral antidepressants are designed to boost mood and relieve depression. However, one third of patients do not respond to oral medications. In addition, for some sufferers, side effects such as fatigue, nausea, insomnia, sedation and lack of sexual drive may be poorly tolerated. By contrast, botulinum toxin has few side effects in the doses used to treat depression.

Botulinum toxin is FDA approved to treat a wide variety of health issues including urinary incontinence, migraine headaches, cerebral palsy, excessive sweating, and cervical dystonia, among others.

In the largest study to date on the effect of botulinum toxin on depression, researchers Eric Finzi, MD, PhD, and Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, found that 52% of subjects suffering from moderate to severe depression showed relief from depression after injection of botulinum toxin to the glabellar area between the eyes, compared with only 15% of those who received the saline placebo. The study, “Treatment of depression with onabotulinumtoxinA: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial” was published in Journal of Psychiatric Research, Volume 52 (May 2014). These findings help to confirm a novel concept for mental health - using facial expressions to influence thoughts and feelings.

Dr. Eric Finzi, a dermasurgeon and artist in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, made global headlines in 2006 when his pilot study was the first to report the inhibition of facial frowning with Botox injection could help depressed patients. In The Face of Emotion, How Botox Affects Our Mood and Relationships, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013, Finzi 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 show that facial expressions are a central driving force of our emotions, and that there is an unlikely ally available to tame them: Botox.

Finzi explains, “Botulinum toxin’s inhibition of frowning gives us a novel tool to influence mood. We believe that the brain monitors the state of contraction of facial muscles, and this feedback to the brain is powerful. We look forward to presenting the results from the three clinical trials to the world psychiatric community.”

Interview Requests:
Dr. Eric Finzi, and study subjects willing to speak with Press
Contact Michelle Delino, contact(at)michelledelinomedia(dot)com or call in U.S.A. 202-486-7622

Published Research:
Botulinum Toxin To Treat Depression:
Treatment of depression with onabotulinumtoxinA: A randomized, double- blind, placebo controlled trial
Published: Journal of Psychiatric Research, May 2014
Authors Eric Finzi, MD, PhD and Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, Associate Professor, Georgetown School of Psychiatry

Botulinum Toxin A for Major Depressive Disorder
Published: Journal of Clinical Psychology, May 2014
Authors: Michelle Magid, MD Clinical associate Professor Psychiatry, University of Texas, Southwestern (Austin)
Jason Reichenberg, MD, Associate Professor Dermatology, University of Texas, Southwestern

Facing depression with botulinum toxin: A randomized controlled trial, Journal of Psychiatric Research, May 2012
Authors: Alex Wollmer, Psychiatric Hospital of Basal, Switzerland and Kruger Tillmann, Claas de Boer, Department of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Medical School of Hannover, Germany

Select Press Links:
NBC Today Show correspondent Tom Costello interviewed Dr. Eric Finzi about the research findings and two study participants about the effect Botox to treat their depression has had on their lives. Video:

The Washington Post, To Your Health, Using Botox to treat depression. Seriously. by Lenny Bernstein

The NewYork Times OpEd piece in Review by Richard Friedman, MD

For More Press Articles:

For more information visit:

Press Contacts:
Researchers Dr. Eric Finzi, Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, and study subjects available for interviews contact:
Michelle Delino, contact(at)michelledelinomedia(dot)com or call in U.S. 202-486-7622

XIV World Congress of Psychiatry 2014 is organized by The World Psychiatric Association, an organization with 64 years of history, which gathers 135 psychiatry societies from 117 countries in five continents, and brings together more than 200,000 psychiatrists.

For further information about the WCP2014, please contact:
Docor Comunicación
Tel: +34 94 423 48 25
E-mail: info(at)docorcomunicacion(dot)com Albert Concepción (+34 678 540 425) aconcepcion(at)docorcommunicacion(dot)com

National Media: Marcelo Curto, (+34 661 414 696) mcurto(at)docorcomunicacion(dot)com
International Media: Georgina Sanchez

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