FDA Approves Treatment for Fat Below the Chin

Adults with moderate-to-severe fat under their chin will soon have a new treatment option with today's FDA approval of deoxycholic acid.

Adults with moderate-to-severe fat under their chin will soon have a new treatment option with today’s FDA approval of deoxycholic acid (Kybella).

Kybella is intended to treat submental fat—or fat below the chin—but it is not recommended to treat fat in any other part of the body.

Patients interested in the treatment would receive injections of Kybella into the fat tissue in the submental area. Kybella destroys fat cells, but it can also target skin cells if injected into the skin mistakenly, according to an FDA press release.

The FDA’s approval was based on 2 trials of 1022 patients with submental fat. The participants either received Kybella or a placebo for up to 6 treatments, and the results showed that patients who received Kybella saw less submental fat than the control group.

Potential adverse side effects include nerve injury that can cause an uneven smile or facial muscle weakness, trouble swallowing, swelling, bruising, numbness, redness, and areas of hardness under the chin.

“Treatment with Kybella should only be provided by a licensed health care professional, and patients should fully understand the risks associated with use of the drug before considering treatment,” Amy G. Egan, MD, MPH, deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a press release. “It is important to remember that Kybella is only approved for the treatment of fat occurring below the chin, and it is not known if Kybella is safe or effective for treatment outside of this area.”