Botox has seen wild success since its implementation; around 82% of patients see improvement within a week of their treatment. Yet a new study has taken that success even further, suggesting that Botox could be a solution for weight loss.
In a small new study, researchers in Norway injected Botox into the stomachs of 20 obese people, who had body mass indexes (BMIs) ranging from 35 to 44.
The researchers used an endoscope to see inside the stomach and inject Botox into the lower portion of the organ. Patients received injections at the start of the study and then once every six months over the course of 18 months.
After one year, in which two injections were administered, 70% of the patients had lost an average of 17% of their excess body weight.
After 18 months, when the patients had received three injections, 75% of the patients had lost an average of 28% of their excess body weight.
Several previous studies also tested whether Botox could help with weight loss, but most of these studies found that Botox didn’t help people lose weight because they followed patients for only a few months after a single Botox injection.
While this new, small study has seen impressive results, Botox is facing negative press elsewhere.
Doctors are warning of Botox-related side effects after four cases of botulism, all involving local women getting injections in mainland China, were reported in the span of a single week.
The four women, between the ages of 21 and 47, developed potentially fatal complications almost immediately after their injections and were admitted into hospitals for further treatment.
Of those with botulism — a serious possible side effect from injections — 5 to 10% could die, according to the World Health Organization.
Doctors are urging the public to understand the functions and potential risks of Botox injections before getting them and to have the procedures performed by qualified doctors.
Complications and side effects are important factors that the recent research has taken into account.
The researchers stressed that their study was small and that more research is needed to confirm the results in a larger group of people.
But if future studies verify the findings, the procedure might become “another new way to treat obesity,” said study co-author Duan Chen, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.