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Deoxycholic acid (Subcutaneous)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 23, 2022.

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Kybella

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Solution

Therapeutic Class: Dermatological Agent

Uses for deoxycholic acid

Deoxycholic acid is used to help improve the appearance of moderate to severe fat below the chin (submental fat), also called double chin.

Deoxycholic acid is to be given only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.

Before using deoxycholic acid

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For deoxycholic acid, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to deoxycholic acid or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Deoxycholic acid is not indicated for use in children. Safety and efficacy have not been established.


Although appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of deoxycholic acid have not been performed in the geriatric population, no geriatric-specific problems have been documented to date. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney, liver, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving deoxycholic acid.


There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of deoxycholic acid. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Bleeding problems or
  • Trouble swallowing, or history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Infection at the injection site—Should not be used in patients with this condition.
  • Medical conditions in or near the neck area (eg, thyroid problems, lymph node problems) or
  • Surgery or cosmetic treatment on the face, neck, or chin—Use with caution. May increase risk for more serious side effects.

Proper use of deoxycholic acid

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you deoxycholic acid. It is injected into the fat under the skin of your chin.

Deoxycholic acid comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

Precautions while using deoxycholic acid

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

Deoxycholic acid 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.

Deoxycholic acid may cause injection site reactions (eg, ulcers, necrosis, and infection). Check with your doctor right away if you have pain, redness, swelling, or open sores at the injection site.

Deoxycholic acid side effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common

  • Headache
  • muscle weakness in the face
  • pain in the mouth or throat
  • pounding in the ears
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • trouble swallowing
  • uneven smile

Incidence not known

  • Blue-green to black skin discoloration
  • cracking of the skin
  • fainting
  • neck pain
  • pain, redness, or sloughing of the skin at the injection site
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Bleeding, blistering, bruising, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, rash, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tightness of the skin, tingling, or warmth at the injection site

Less common

  • Nausea

Incidence not known

  • Hair loss at the injection site

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.