This news may mean the end for the ultimate selfie killer, the double chin. The Food and Drug Administration will now let you say bye-bye to nasty neck fat and hello to a jawline that doesn’t jiggle. The agency approved the first drug that can eliminate neck fat in most people without surgery.
The drug, known by its commercial name of Kybella, is a deoxycholic acid made by Californa’s Kythera Biopharmaceuticals. This is the same acid your body produces to help it absorb fat. It takes only a few minutes for a licensed dermatologist to inject it under the jawline right into your fat tissue.
The drug immediately goes to work on your wattle, destroying the cell membrane of what doctors call “submental fat,” causing it to burst and go away permanently. That’s great news for patients seeking improvement in an area many people consider a real problem. About 68% of people surveyed by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery in 2014 named excess fat under the chin and neck one of their top concerns. Many people say they think a double chin makes them look older than they actually are.
Maybe that will make the pain of getting up to 50 injections in a single treatment go down a little bit easier. The good news is it takes only a few days to heal, and there are no bandages necessary to make you look like a Dickensian Jacob Marley’s ghost. But it may take several sessions to eliminate all your problem areas.
The FDA approved the drug after the manufacturer submitted 19 clinical studies involving nearly 2,600 patients. The tests showed the drug worked to eliminate moderate to severe chin fat. Currently, the only other way to delete your double chin is to have surgery, having the fat removed with traditional liposuction. In the past, a drug called Lipodissolve, also known on the streets of Beverly Hills as “lunchtime lipo,” prompted an FDA warning letter in 2010 that suggested that treatment could cause permanent scarring and skin deformities.
Side effects for a small number of patients in the Kybella drug trials included nerve injury in the jaw that lead to a lopsided smile or facial weakness. It also may cause bruising, swelling, redness and some pain in some patients. Insurance does not cover this treatment.
While this drug may be a success for your neck, don’t expect to see it dissolving fat in other problem places, the FDA warns.
“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,” Dr. Amy G. Egan, deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a news release.
The drug should be commercially available in June, the company said. Just in time for summer vacation selfie season.