There's Now A Double-Chin Removal Drug, Because Of Course There Is

Illustrated by Julia Sadler.
Update: Today, the FDA officially approved Kybella (deoxycholic acid) for the treatment of "fat below the chin." Continue to our original post below to learn more about how the treatment works.

This article was originally published on March 11, 2015.


On the medical horizon, there are brilliant teenagers working on treatments for cancer and arsenic poisoning. But, we also now have a drug that can dissolve your double chin. Yay?

The Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee recommended this week that the drug — a deoxycholic acid (DCA) injection — be approved by the FDA. If it is actually approved, it will be the first of its kind.

When injected, DCA can be used to destroy fat cell membranes, even in that familiar area of "submental fat," a.k.a. the classic double chin. When DCA — which our bodies make naturally in our intestines — is used in this way, the FDA considers it a new molecular entity. In two phase-three trials, participants received injections every four weeks for a maximum of six sessions, with 50 injections total.

After 12 weeks, 13-18% of participants saw major improvements (compared to 1-3% in placebo groups) and another 66-70% saw more slight improvements (compared to 18-22% in placebo) in the two studies.

The treatment wasn't without its drawbacks, though. About 96% of participants reported a reaction at the injection site, compared to 81% who got the placebo. And, in the worst case, one participant had a "mandibular nerve injury" that lasted for 300 days. But, it did resolve without treatment after that stretch of time. Other than that, researchers are mostly worried about people potentially using this drug off-label — in greater amounts, or in areas where it's not supposed to be.

Of course, if this is something you've always dreamed of, we'd never try to take it away from you. But, you should know we love your chins just the way they are. 
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