FDA Warns of Dangers of Unauthorized Fat-Dissolving Injections

24 December 2023

Severe Side Effects Reported, Including Scarring and Infections

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about the risks associated with using unauthorized versions of fat-dissolving injections. These injections, also known as lipolysis injections, are nonsurgical procedures aimed at reducing small amounts of fat beneath the skin. While the FDA has approved one such injection called Kybella, it has recently observed the emergence of unapproved versions being sold online and administered at clinics and med spas across the United States. These unauthorized injections have been associated with severe side effects, including persistent scarring, severe infections, and skin deformities.

Unapproved Injections Flood the Market

The FDA has identified several unapproved fat-dissolving injections being sold under brand names such as Aqualyx, Lipodissolve, Lipo Lab, and Kabelline. These injections contain chemicals like phosphatidylcholine and sodium deoxycholate, which have not been approved by the FDA for use in fat-dissolving procedures. Reports suggest that these unauthorized injections are being administered by individuals who may lack proper licensing, raising concerns about the safety and efficacy of the procedure.

Serious Side Effects Reported

Consumers who have used unapproved fat-dissolving injections have reported experiencing severe side effects. These include permanent scarring, serious infections, skin deformities, cysts, and painful knots at the injection sites. The FDA has received numerous reports of individuals suffering from these complications, highlighting the potential dangers associated with using unauthorized products and receiving injections from unqualified providers.

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Risks of Self-Administration

There have also been instances of individuals purchasing fat-dissolving products online and injecting themselves without medical supervision. Dr. Dan Maselli, an obesity medicine physician, warns against this practice, emphasizing the risks involved. Apart from the uncertainty surrounding the chemicals used in these products, self-administration can lead to unintended injections into muscles, blood vessels, or nerves, potentially causing severe harm.

Quick Fixes and Cosmetic Concerns

Many individuals seek fat-dissolving injections as a quick fix for weight loss or to address cosmetic concerns. Dr. Shauna Levy, a specialist in obesity medicine, explains that these treatments often fail to address the underlying metabolic health issues contributing to weight gain. She suggests that medications like Ozempic and Wegovy, as well as bariatric surgery, are more effective in improving metabolic health. Levy explains that the fat-dissolving injections simply cause fat cells to die, triggering adverse reactions in the surrounding tissue.

Seeking Professional Guidance

For those considering fat-dissolving injections for cosmetic purposes, Dr. Maselli recommends consulting a licensed plastic surgeon. Plastic surgeons have the expertise and knowledge to perform these procedures safely, minimizing the risk of complications. Additionally, the FDA advises consumers to avoid purchasing fat-dissolving products from websites, as they may be ineffective and carry a high risk of severe side effects.

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The FDA’s warning about unauthorized fat-dissolving injections highlights the potential dangers associated with these procedures. Consumers should exercise caution when considering such treatments, ensuring they are administered by licensed professionals using approved products. The focus should be on addressing metabolic health rather than seeking quick fixes for weight loss or cosmetic concerns. By prioritizing safety and seeking guidance from qualified healthcare providers, individuals can make informed decisions about their well-being.

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