Stomach Botox Injections Don't Help Weight Loss

Botox injected into the stomach doesn't help overweight people shed pounds, researchers say.

A previous study suggested the substance, commonly used as a wrinkle-eraser, could also be used as a weight-loss fix, prolonging feelings of fullness when injected into the stomach. But new research shows that while Botox slows movement of food in the gut, it ultimately doesn't help people lose pounds.

Botox, short for Botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Though it is one of the most poisonous substances in the world, specialists use it in very small amounts to stop muscle spasms, which can help people with certain pain disorders and twitching. But perhaps its most popular use is cosmetic: Botox can smooth out facial wrinkles by paralyzing the muscles that cause them to form.

In the new study, researchers recruited 60 obese patients in a trial to compare the effects of gastric botox injections against a placebo. Neither physicians nor patients knew who received Botox and who received placebo. After 24 weeks, those who were given the Botox injections showed no edge in weight loss.

"On the basis of our findings, I would not recommend gastric Botox injections to people who want to lose weight," researcher Mark Topazian, a professor at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., said in a statement. "There are some risks with this treatment and we found that there was no benefit in terms of body weight loss. Unless future studies show different results I'd advise patients to seek other means of achieving weight loss."

The findings were detailed this month in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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