There may be a new use for muscle and nerve-relaxant anti-wrinkle injections: to help obese people lose weight. Special injections are being trialled to see if blocking the vagus nerve in the stomach, which controls the sensation of hunger or satiety, can adjust eating habits and cause weight loss, with impressive results so far.
The Norwegian researchers are trialling the injections in 20 obese people, with body mass indexes (BMIs) between 35 and 44. An endoscope – a medical instrument with a camera on the end – is being used to see inside the stomach as the injections are being applied to the lower section of the stomach. Patients received injections at the beginning of the study, then every six months.
After a year, with just two injections applied, 70 per cent of the study participants had lost weight – on average, 17 per cent of their excess body weight. After 18 months, after three injections, 75 per cent of the participants had lost an average of 28 per cent of their excess body weight. Excess body weight is weight that is considered in excess of a ‘normal’ BMI, or a BMI of less than 25.
The study was very small, with further research required to confirm the findings in a bigger group, however if further trials prove the method to be successful, using anti-wrinkle injections to help people lose weight may become a real-life option. So far, anti-wrinkle injections are proving useful in various types of medical conditions, used to treat migraines, muscle problems, hyperhidrosis, and others.
This isn’t the first study to examine anti-wrinkle injections as weight-loss tools, however most of the other studies did not find that the injections were helpful. Earlier studies only followed patients for a few months after one injection, whereas the new study followed patients for over a year and used multiple injections. Additional assumptions regarding the effects of the injections included that the rate at which the stomach emptied may be slowed, which is a different theory altogether than the current study. This study looks at how the injections can block the vagus nerve that connects the brain and stomach, interrupting or modifying hunger signals.
In rat studies, these injections caused the rats to eat less and lose weight, but when the researchers actually cut the vagus nerve, the rats didn’t lose weight with the injections. This suggested that the injections were acting via the vagus nerve to cause the weight loss.
Nobody in this study experienced any serious side-effects from the study, with each injection taking about 15 minutes.
At ENRICH Clinic, all our doctors and nurses and highly qualified and are always researching new treatments and studies that contribute to their patients well being.
Anti-wrinkle injections were originally developed for certain medical conditions and it appears, still have further options for consideration in this regard. Stay tuned!