This New Fat Busting Drug Targets One Specific Body Part

When it comes to “problem” areas of the body, women are quick to point out flaws, from “pudgy” stomachs to cellulite on their thighs or buttocks. But there’s a solution for yet another trouble spot that women may not think they can do anything about: the double chin.

A new injectable drug, Kybella, was approved by the FDA in April and became available on June 15 to dermatologists and plastic surgeons authorized to administer the treatment. Any doctors who offer Kybella injections must have completed a training through drug maker Kythera Biopharmaceutical Inc., located in Westlake Village, CA.

How does it work? Kybella helps to absorb fats thanks to a chemical called deoxycholic acid; when injected into the chin, it destroys what is known as submental fat cells.

But could Kybella put Botox out of business? One dermatologist who spoke to the Hollywood Reporter thinks so, saying that he’s had a wait list of clients for months.

Treatments made from the botulinum toxin, including Botox, Dysport and Xeomin, have remained the most popular noninvasive cosmetic treatments for several years. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of procedures performed in the U.S. alone increased by 15.6%.

Allergan, the company that manufactures Botox, has probably noticed the potential of Kybella in the injectables market, though, since it is set to acquire Kythera for $2.1 billion.

Although the pricing hasn’t yet been released, industry experts estimate that each treatment will cost between $500 and $600, compared with a treatment like liposuction, which costs between $1,500 and $2,000. One treatment of Kybella can include up to 50 injections, and patients can get up to six treatments no less than a month apart from each other.

But waiting to get liposuction can take some time, especially for those who don’t need a lot of fat removed.

Megan O’Brien, a size-zero 38-year-old makeup artist from Los Angeles wanted abdominal liposuction for a belly she described as “pudgy,” and made headlines last month after getting the procedure done.

She also had fat beneath her chin removed by the procedure, got fillers in her face and a blepharoplasty procedure to remove under-eye sagging. In total, she spent $10,000 on her new look, despite being an enviable size already.

Kybella treatments, however, may put that double chin reduction in reach for more patients. Also, the drug “should not be used outside the submental area,” according to FDA warnings.

That might not stop doctors from performing “off label” procedures, however, according to another doc who spoke to the Hollywood Reporter; some clinicians may try using it on love handles or the fat above the knees and as an under-eye treatment.

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