Overweight American women looking for an easy fix have turned to gastric botox injections to help them slim down. Injecting botulinum toxin A (Botox) into the stomach had been promoted as a way to delay emptying of the stomach, increase feelings of fullness and reduce body weight. But a new study conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers and published in Gastroenterology and Hepatology reports the treatment to be ineffective and not without risk.
In a 24-week trial to compare the effects of Botox to placebo the researchers found that the injection slowed movement of food through the stomach but it did not cause weight loss.
"On the basis of our findings, I would not recommend gastric Botox injections to people who want to lose weight. There are some risks with this treatment and we found that there was no benefit in terms of body weight loss," said Mayo's Mark Topazian, the lead author of the study.
Although a previous study had indicated that Botox was a promising weight loss option, the new research invalidates the earlier findings because it is larger, used ultrasound to ensure injections were properly placed, and limited bias by ensuring that neither physicians nor patients knew who received Botox and who received placebo injections. "Unless future studies show different results I'd advise patients to seek other means of achieving weight loss," concluded Topazian.
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Source: American Gastroenterological Association