Forget the diets and "eat less" New Year's resolutions: German drugmaker Bayer says it's on the cusp of selling a cure for the "dreaded double chin." The injectable drug is being tested on 720 patients across Europe, and if it passes muster, it could be available in Europe, Latin America, and Asia by 2014. Just how does Bayer propose to rid us of the "curse of middle age" without invasive cosmetic surgery? A guide:
What does the drug do?
Called ATX-101, Bayer's experimental drug is designed to dissolve certain fat cells called adipocytes, without affecting nearby tissue. The drug is administered "like a tattoo" in some ways, says Bayer spokeswoman Yvonne Moeller. A dermatologist would inject a patient's chin fat 40 to 70 times (with minimal anesthesia) across several sessions, depending on the size of the double chin. "You would hope to see noticeable results after about 16 weeks," says Moeller.
People will sign up for that?
Bayer certainly thinks so, predicting up to $325 million a year in sales (excluding the U.S. market) once the drug hits the market. "There is a huge demand for a safe, effective, and approved injectable treatment for localized fat reduction," says French dermatologist Jean Paul Ortonne, who will help conduct final clinical trials.
Will ATX-101 be available in the U.S.?
Yes, eventually. It will be marketed by California-based Kythera, a firm that specializes in biopharmeceuticals for the "aesthetic market."
What can the double-chinned do until then?
"Double chins are the by-products of obesity," sometimes exacerbated by genetics or age, says Bushra S. Khan in The Times of India, and if you have one, it "totally takes away the beauty of a face." But it can be reduced, even without drugs. Diet, exercise, laying off the booze, and jaw exercises will all help, or "if you are Miss Moneybags and don't mind spending a bomb, then liposuction is for you," Khan says. You can also "camouflage a double chin" with artful makeup and by keeping your hair short and avoiding turtlenecks, tight necklaces, and chokers.