Twenty five years after Botox was first approxed for medical use, the famed anti-wrinkle product is becoming increasingly popular in non-cosmetic treatments for everything from eye spasms to cerebral palsy. While research shows that over 11.8 Botox procedures have been administered in the United States, the Daily Mail reports that slightly more than half of Botox’s sales were for medical purposes. Moreover, Botox and other botulinum toxins are currently being investigated for 20 additional clinical treatments.
Botox has been officially approved to treat 12 conditions. While the product’s paralyzing properties were originally used to prevent eye spasms and reduce limb stiffness in children with cerebral palsy, it was recently approved in the United Kingdom as a method to treat issues with ankle movements after a stroke. Additionally, Botox has been proven to reduce excessive sweating and joint pain caused by several forms of arthritis. However, the medical community has recently been set abuzz by evidence that the drug can be used to promote effective cancer treatments.
An international team of scientists working at both Columbia University Medical Centre in New York City and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim recently researched the connection between nerve function and cancer growth. Tests on mice revealed that doses of Botox can disrupt tumor growth and even boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments. Because the drug targets the nervous system, which has been previously linked to growth in stomach and prostate cancers, Botox shows the greatest promise in treating these conditions. However, some members of the medical community are still hesitant about this approach, and the treatment will likely require several more years of testing before the procedure can be approved.
However, the medical field isn’t the only industry that has experienced an increased use of Botox: cosmetic surgery and dermatology practitioners are also seeing more people use Botox to reduce wrinkles in a variety places on the body. In New Zealand, many women are even getting injections in their fingers to prepare for their weddings.
As the New Zealand Herald reports, cosmetic clinics across the country are seeing a high number of female patients focusing on improving the appearance of their hands, presumably to better showcase their engagement rings for photos and more. This has lead a number of patients to have sun spots and other pigmentation issues removed with laser therapy, but the most popular procedure involves injecting Botox into the hands and fingers to reduce wrinkles and increase fullness. The procedure, which can last as long as a year, costs around $300 per treatment. Many doctors recommend getting these treatments at least a month before the event in advance to allow any bruising to fade.
The New Zealand Herald also stated that Botox treatments are growing among older men and women in the country trying to compete with younger job seekers. In response, at least one psychologist at Auckland University, Annette Henderson, stated her disapproval, advising older employees to present themselves as mature and reliable instead. But with Botox usage increasing in both the medical and cosmetic fields, and youth as desirable as ever,it seems likely that many people will continue to turn to a procedure rather than a brandable image.