Kybella (Deoxycholic acid) - Injectable

What Is Kybella?

Kybella (deoxycholic acid) is a cosmetic injectable drug used to improve the look of a double chin (fat below the chin). It is a cytolytic drug, meaning it causes tissue breakdown by physically destroying the cell membrane of tissues and dissolving fat. It's also a non-surgical option for lipomas, non-cancerous tumors made of fat cells. A healthcare professional can only inject this drug in a healthcare setting. 

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Deoxycholic Acid

Brand Name(s): Kybella

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Cytolytic

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Subcutaneous injection (under the skin)

Active Ingredient: Deoxycholic Acid

Dosage Form(s): Injection

What Is Kybella Used For?

Kybella (deoxycholic acid) improves the look of moderate to severe fat under the chin, also known as “double chin.”  The maximum number of treatments you can get with Kybella is six, spaced at least one month apart.

An illustration with kybella (deoxycholic acid) drug information

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take Kybella 

Your healthcare provider will administer this injection as a shot into the fatty part of your skin. Kybella will not be injected into your vein or artery as it may damage your blood vessel. Avoid injections near the nerves of the lower lip (marginal mandibular nerve) and the superficial neck muscle (platysma area) to prevent nerve damage.

Apply pressure to the injected site to reduce bleeding, if needed. Use topical pain creams, ice packs, or cold packs on the injection site to relieve pain or swelling.

Each vial label of Kybella has a hologram. If your healthcare provider does not see the hologram on the vial, they should not use it, and should call 1-800-678-1605.

Storage

Store intact vials at room temperature (68 to 77 degrees F). However, excursions are permitted between cool and mildly hot temperatures (59 degrees and 86 degrees F).

If you need to keep this medicine at home, see your healthcare provider or pharmacist for instructions.

How Long Does Kybella Take to Work?

It takes Kybella about 18 minutes to peak in your system. However, it may take up to six injections to see its full effects.

What Are the Side Effects of Kybella?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Many people notice no negative side effects at all from taking Kybella. However, some people do experience problems while taking the medication.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Kybella include but are not limited to:

  • Swelling
  • Injection site bleeding
  • Redness
  • Numbness or hardened injection area 
  • Headache
  • Bruising

Severe Side Effects

Kybella can cause many side effects. Some may be life-threatening. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or think you have a medical emergency. Severe side effects include:

  • Uneven smile
  • Facial weakness
  • Drainage
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Skin temperature change
  • Change in skin color
  • Injection site skin sores
  • Skin ulcers and pain
  • Signs of an allergic reaction
  • Injection site alopecia
  • Injection site bruising/bleeding

If you develop ulcer or necrosis, your healthcare provider may delay injection until the ulcer or necrosis is gone.

Report Side Effects

Kybella may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).


Dosage: How Much Kybella Should I Use?

Your healthcare provider will determine and administer the proper dosage of Kybella for you.

Modifications

Pregnancy: The safety of Kybella in pregnant people is unknown. Contact your healthcare provider for directions.

Breastfeeding: It is not known if deoxycholic acid is present in breast milk. Ask your healthcare provider what to do.

Children: The safety of Kybella in children is unknown.

Adults over 65 years: Clinical trials did not include sufficient numbers of people in this age group to see if they responded differently from younger people. For this group, Kybella should be started at a lower dose.

Missed Dose

Call your healthcare provider to find out what to do about a missed dose.

Try to find ways that work for you to help yourself remember to routinely keep your appointments and take your medication.

Overdose: What Happens if I Inject Too Much Kybella?

Using too much Kybella may increase the risk of severe side effects.

What Happens if I Overdose on Kybella?

Call your medical provider or the Poison Control Center right away if you think you or someone else may have ingested or overdosed on Kybella. 

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after injecting Kybella, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

Your doctor will check your progress closely while you are receiving this medicine. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it.

This medicine may cause nerve injury in the jaw. Check with your doctor right away if you have an uneven smile or muscle weakness in the face.

Tell your doctor if you are using an antiplatelet medicine (eg, aspirin) or a blood thinner (eg, warfarin). These medicines may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in the treatment area.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Use Kybella? 

Avoid taking Kybella if you have any infection at the injection sites or have trouble swallowing.

What Other Medications Interact With Kybella?

Certain medications interact with Kybella. They may increase the risk of side effects, especially bleeding or bruising. Some drugs to avoid are:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as:

  • Motrin (ibuprofen)
  • Voltaren (diclofenac)

Anticoagulants such as:

  • Xarelto (rivaroxaban)
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran)
  • Eliquis (apixaban)

What Medications Are Similar?

There are currently no other lypolytic drugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Kybella used to treat?

    Kybella is used to improve the look of fat below the chin (double chin).

  • What are the common side effects of Kybella?

    Some common side effects include:

    • Swelling
    • Injection site bleeding
    • Redness
    • Numbness or hardened injection area 
    • Headache
    • Bruising
  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Kybella?

    Speak to your healthcare provider.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Kybella?

Although Kybella may be safe and effective in improving the appearance of a double chin, it may cause some side effects like headache, numbness, bruising, or swelling. Speak to your healthcare provider if your side effects become bothersome or do not go away. 

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Kybella label.

  2. Cohen J. Additional thoughts on the new treatment Kybella. Sem Cutan Med Surg. 2015;34(3):138-139. doi:10.12788/j.sder.2015.0175

By Queen Buyalos, PharmD
Queen Buyalos is a pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She takes pride in advocating for cancer prevention, overall health, and mental health education. Queen enjoys counseling and educating patients about drug therapy and translating complex ideas into simple language.