In April 2015, deoxycholic acid was approved by the FDA for the treatment submental fat to improve aesthetic appearance and reduce facial fullness or convexity. Kybella by Kythera Biopharma became the first pharmacological agent available for submental fat reduction, allowing for a safer and less invasive alternative than surgical procedures.
Kybella is a manmade brand of deoxycholic acid, also known as cholanoic acid. Deoxycholic acid is one of the secondary bile acids, which are metabolic byproducts of intestinal bacteria. The two primary bile acids secreted by the liver are cholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid.
Kybella injection is used to improve the appearance and profile of moderate to severe submental fat (‘double chin’; fatty tissue located under the chin). Deoxycholic acid injection is in a class of medications called cytolytic medications. It works by breaking down cells in fatty tissue.
How does Kybella work?
Kybella is a bile acid which emulsifies and solubilizes dietary fats in the intestine, and when injected subcutaneously, it disrupts cell membranes in adipocytes and destroys fat cells in the tissue where it is injected into the body. This helps to decrease the appearance of fat that hangs below the chin, sometimes called a double-chin. Kybella has not been tested for safe use on other areas of the body.
How to take Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella)?
Use Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella) exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Deoxycholic acid is injected under the skin directly into the area beneath your chin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
You may be treated with a topical numbing medicine or an ice pack to ease pain and make you comfortable during the injections.
Deoxycholic acid must be given in a series of up to 6 treatment sessions in order to be effective. You may receive up to 50 injections at each session.
Each treatment session should be spaced no less than 1 month apart. Many people have had visible results after 2 to 4 sessions.
Your doctor will determine the right number of injections and how many sessions you need, depending on the results you want.
How Long Does Kybella Last?
Once the fat walls are destroyed, they don’t return. So once you get rid of all the fat cells in your double chin with Kybella injections, they disappear forever and your new chin remains. Users report noticeable effects after 12 weeks or at least 2 sessions. Maximum results can be seen after six months and are meant to be long-lasting.
Anecdotal evidence also confirms the efficacy of this medication, reports also indicate that results were subtle and natural looking.
What are the side effects of Kybella?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
• trouble swallowing;
• weak muscles in your face;
• a crooked smile;
• open skin sores or drainage around treated areas; or
• pain, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given.
Common side effects may include:
• numbness or hardening of treated areas;
• hair loss around treated areas; or
• pain, swelling, redness, or bruising, of treated areas.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.