deoxycholic acid (Kybella)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: deoxycholic acid


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Deoxycholic acid (Kybella) is an injectable medication used for reducing fat in the submental region of the face (below the chin). Deoxycholic acid destroys the cell membrane of fat cells causing fat cells to die. Reducing the number of fat cells reduces fat under the chin. It should not be injected in other tissues because it also destroys other cells. In clinical studies 43% of people who received deoxycholic acid achieved a 10% reduction in submental fat volume after six or fewer treatment. Only 5% of people who received placebo achieved a 10% reduction in submental fat. Deoxycholic acid was approved by the FDA in April, 2015.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Deoxycholic acid is used for improving the appearance of moderate to severe fullness associated with submental fat (double chin) in adults. It is not approved for reducing fat in other areas of the body.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of deoxycholic acid include:

Injecting deoxycholic acid outside the submental area can cause damage to surrounding tissues. Injecting deoxycholic acid into the dermis may cause skin ulceration. Injecting deoxycholic acid into or in close proximity to the facial nerve may cause asymmetric smile and facial muscle weakness.



PREPARATIONS: Injection: 10 mg/ml in 2 ml vials for single-patient use.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/1/2015

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