Dieting or liposuction were once the only ways to vanquish the dreaded double chin, but a crazy new drug under development could do the trick by blasting chin and neck fat cells from the inside.
The injectable drug, called ATX-101, works by disrupting local fat cell membranes. When injected under the chin, it can reduce deposits of submental fat in the area, developers say. Submental fat there is what we colloquially call “a double chin.”
So far, the drug has been through two placebo-controlled studies, involving a total of more than 700 patients. In both studies, ATX-101 injections “led to significant improvements in clinician-reported measurements of SMF, supported by objective caliper measurements of SMF thickness,” according to Bayer Healthcare and Kythera Biopharmaceuticals. Patients also reported subjective improvements on the double chin front.
Kythera plans to hold phase III clinical trials of the drug in the U.S. and Canada this year.
While the science geek in me thinks this is all pretty cool, it’s also a sad sign of the times in some way. The most common cause of a double chin is simply excess weight or body fat. Genetics can predispose one to getting a double chin, and age is also a risk factor due to skin loosening and muscle loss. But having a double chin isn’t just some random, mysterious or uncontrollable thing — it’s a sign of a poor diet, too much body fat, lack of exercise or some combination of these lifestyle factors.
In other words: A double chin is a sign of things not being right with your body. Injecting synthetic sodium deoxycholate (a human bile acid that helps degrade dietary fat) to blast away fat cells in the chin may make someone feel or look “better,” but it masks a bigger health issue, and that’s not cool.