Botox could be used for weight loss

Anti-wrinkle injectable botulinum toxin could soon be used to speed weight loss following a study into the new application for the drug.

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology said they have seen promising results from trials of botulinum toxin as a weight-loss tool. 

The Experimental Surgery and Pharmacology research group now hopes to win approval for human testing to see if Botox could be used as an alternative to gastric bypass surgery.

The study, which is part of an EU project called Full4Health, saw rats lose up to 20%-30% of their body weight over five weeks after being injected with the drug, which is usually used to lessen facial wrinkles. 

The treatment paralyses muscles in the stomach, which appear to slow down the passage of food. The researchers said they believe this could help people feel fuller for longer.

Helene Johannessen, who led the study, said she hopes that human clinical studies will start as soon as Norwegian medical ethics authorities give their approval and will be inviting patients who are candidates for obesity operations.

Botox is also used in the medical treatment of other disorders including dystonias, a neurological movement disorder, spasms, hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating) and incontinence.