New Drugs and Therapies for 2016: Cosmetics

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Drs. Neal Bhatia and Ted Rosen

Part 7 of an 8-part series on the large number of new topical and systemic medications that have become available or moved closer to approval in the last 12 months.

Injectable Deoxycholic Acid

In April, 2015 the FDA approved deoxycholic acid (Kybella®), a treatment for adults with moderate-to-severe fat below the chin, known as submental fat. Kybella, a cytolytic drug, is identical to the deoxycholic acid that is produced in the body and which helps absorb fats. When properly injected into submental fat, the drug destroys fat cells. It is the only approved for the treatment of fat occurring below the chin (Figure 4). The safety and effectiveness of Kybella for treatment of submental fat were established in two clinical trials that enrolled 1,022 adult patients with moderate or severe submental fat. Results showed that reductions in submental fat were observed more frequently in participants who received deoxycholic acid vs placebo.

It is important to note that Kybella can cause serious side effects, including nerve injury in the jaw that can cause an uneven smile or facial muscle weakness, and trouble swallowing. The most common side effects seen with this new treatment are swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, redness and areas of hardness in the treatment area.