Closer to the ideal of beauty: Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella) as a treatment for fat below the chin approved

Closer to the ideal of beauty: Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella) as a treatment for fat below the chin approved
Treatment of submental fat: Before and after

Last Updated on May 9, 2015 by Joseph Gut – thasso

May 09, 2015 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Kybella (deoxycholic acid) as treatment for adults with moderate-to-severe fat below the chin, known as submental fat (i.e., located in the submental triangle). Using Kybella for the treatment of fat outside of the submental area is not approved and is not recommended.

Submental fat treatment: Before and after.
Submental fat treatment: Before and after.

Kybella is identical to the deoxycholic acid that is produced in the body. Deoxycholic acid produced in the body helps the body absorb fats. Kybella is a cytolytic drug, which when injected into tissue physically destroys the cell membrane. When properly injected into submental fat, the drug destroys fat cells; however, it can also destroy other types of cells, such as skin cells, if it is inadvertently injected into the skin. Outside of the body, deoxycholic acid is often used as a powerful detergent, capable of lysing whole tissues and cells, and solubilizing membraneous and sub cellular organelle structures in order to make their components (e.g., proteins) amenable to biochemical analysis and research. One could say that in the name of beauty, people use a strong detergent to cleanse out  fat deposits from some parts of the body. That comes not without some nasty risks tough.

Kybella is administered as an injection into the fat tissue in the submental area. Patients may receive up to 50 injections in a single treatment, with up to six single treatments administered no less than one month apart. Kybella is being provided in single patient use vials and should not be diluted or mixed with any other compounds. The safety and effectiveness of Kybella for treatment of submental fat were established in two clinical trials which enrolled 1,022 adult participants with moderate or severe submental fat. Participants were randomly assigned to receive Kybella or a placebo for up to six treatments. The results showed that reductions in submental fat were observed more frequently in participants who received Kybella versus placebo.

Patients should be fully aware of the fact that deoxycholic acid being a powerful detergent and lytic agent, Kybella can cause serious side effects. Some of them, such as nerve injury in the jaw that can cause an uneven smile or facial muscle weakness, could be disfiguring and very disturbing to the affected individual. The most common side effects of Kybella include swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, redness and areas of hardness in the treatment area, and trouble swallowing.

Kybella should not be used outside of the submental area, and it should not be used if there is an infection at the injection site. Caution should also be used in patients who have had prior surgical or aesthetic treatment of the submental area. Kybella is being distributed in a dispensing pack that has a unique hologram on the vial label. If there is no hologram, do not use the product.

Consumers and health care professionals are encouraged to report adverse reactions from the use of Kybella to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program at or by calling 800-FDA-1088.


Ph.D.; Professor in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Senior expert in theragenomic and personalized medicine and individualized drug safety. Senior expert in pharmaco- and toxicogenetics. Senior expert in human safety of drugs, chemicals, environmental pollutants, and dietary ingredients.

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