Despite conflicting data in support of the practice, some overweight Americans looking for an easy fix have turned to gastric botox injections to help them lose weight. This month in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, researchers from the Mayo Clinic publish a definitive study finding that Botox doesn’t promote weight loss.
Injecting botulinum toxin A (BTA), or Botox, into the stomach had been believed to delay emptying of the stomach, increase feelings of fullness and reduce body weight. Researchers enrolled 60 obese patients in a 24-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, concealed allocation trial to compare the effects of BTA to placebo. They 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 Mark Topazian, lead author of the study and professor of medicine in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
A previous study had indicated that Botox was a promising weight loss option. This study invalidates those 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,” said Dr. Topazian.