Cosmetically, Botox is FDA-approved for the treatment of crow’s feet (those little wrinkles around the eyes) and for smoothing glabellar lines (the “11s” between the brows).
Botox received its first non-cosmetic FDA approval in 1989, and it has been safely used in millions of people for various indications beyond the face since. In case you didn’t know, here are some of the other approved uses for this wonder drug.
Though relatively rare, some people experience involuntary eye spasms or misaligned eyes, which is also known as strabismus. In these patients, Botox injections can relax the muscles responsible for the twitching, and minimize uncontrolled blinking. In fact, it was the use of Botox for strabismus that led to its use for wrinkles because doctors noted that treated patients had fewer wrinkles when they smiled after receiving Botox injections.
Technically called hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating can be an embarrassing problem, and Botox works by temporarily disabling the sweat glands in treated areas for a drastic reduction in perspiration for up to six months. Botox is only FDA-approved for use in the armpits, also known as axilla.
If you find you always have to “go,” ask your urologist about Botox. When used for this purpose, a doctor uses a scope to visualize the interior of the bladder before injecting. This treatment relaxes the muscles of the bladder to reduce that sense of urgency and actually increase its storage capacity.
Botox is approved for treating chronic headaches. Injections to the head and neck every three or so months help prevent migraines in those who experience symptoms at least 15 days each month. Your insurance may cover these treatments if you have not responded to other types of migraine therapies.
But just remember, if a use for Botox is “off-label” and not approved by the FDA, there are no guarantees. For your safety (and appearance), always consult a board-certified physician for advice.
Dr. Leslie Baumann is a board-certified dermatologist, New York Times best-selling author and CEO of Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute in Miami.