Kybella – otherwise known as deoxycholic acid – may soon be branded the ‘next Botox.’ Kybella doesn’t freeze muscles or smoothaway worry lines, but it does work wonders for that double chin. Upon injection, the cytolytic drug destroys stubborn fat cells that accumulate below the chin, literally melting them away. On April 29, the FDA approved Kybellaas treatment for adults with moderate-to-severe submental fat below the chin, and the novel drug is now available in the U.S. tolicensed health care providers who are properly trained on how to administer the injections.
FDA approves injectable drug to treat chin fat
According to NYC plastic surgeon Dr. Aviva Preminger, the dreaded double chin and ‘turkey neck’ are key aesthetic concerns of many of her male and female patients who traditionally must undergo liposuction. Though laser lipo under the chin has a solid safety profile and relatively quick recovery, a series of injections would undoubtedly be much less invasive.
In a 2014 survey by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, nearly 70 percent of 8,300 respondents said they wanted to get rid of excess fat under their chins. And with cosmetic surgery – including lunchtime facial rejuvenation treatments – more common than ever, Kybella may soon eclipse dermal fillers and Botox in terms of popularity.
Is Kybella safe?
The safety and efficacy of Kybella has been documented in two clinical trials involving more than 1,020 adults, states the FDA. Health regulators say that patients who received sub-dermal injections of Kybella noticed more consistent reduction of chin fat versus a control group who got a placebo.
Manufactured by California-based Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc., Kybella is only approved for injection directly below the chin, and is not without risk of serious complications. The FDA cautions that patients could experience muscle weakness, trouble swallowing and nerve injury to the jaw after the drug is administered. However, more common side effects are much more tolerable and include redness at the injection site, bruising, numbness and swelling.
Keith Leonard, Kythera chief executive, remains optimistic about the future success of this fat-blasting injection. Market research suggests that Americans shell out some $1 billion every year on cosmetic facial injections, and these rates are expected to climb even more as plastic surgery has become increasingly embraced by both genders. Leonard was quoted in the Washington Post saying he thinks Kybella “can drive a very large market and leave very satisfied patients.”
Quick, in-office procedure
Similar to Botox, Kybella is administered as an injection beneath the skin, but slightly deeper into the area of submental fat. Up to 50 injections may be needed in a single treatment, with each treatment spaced one month apart over a maximum period of six months.Since deoxycholic acid breaks down cell membranes and can cause severe damage to other tissues if injected incorrectly, the FDA warns that Kybella should only be given by licensed health care professionals, after patients thoroughly understand all risks.
In addition to the United States, Kythera is also seeking market approval for its new fat-busting drug in Switzerland, Canada and Australia.