Developed by Professor Pasquale Motolese, Aqualyx is a compound solution formulated to reduce stubborn pockets of fat in localized areas such as the chin, stomach, outer and inner thighs, hips, and knees.
After being deposited under the skin, the formula goes to work liquefying any fat cells, permanently destroying them and naturally eliminating the lipids through the lymphatic system. Because of how it works, the company reports that two Aqualyx treatments are typically required for each area, repeated every three to four weeks.
In some instances, however, this process might need to be repeated up to eight times, “depending on the number of small pockets of fat tissue to be reduced.”
Since Aqualyx is marketed toward any patients between 18 and 60 “who do not want the more invasive liposuction or laser lipo treatments,” Healthxchange Pharmacy tells us they’ve sold over two million vials of the formulation since 2009, across 49 countries worldwide.
If you don’t have a large amount of fat to remove and are looking to slim up the appearance of targeted areas around your chin, stomach, outer and inner thighs, hips, and knees, is Aqualyx the right treatment for you? How does it compare to the competition?
Give us a few minutes, and we'll help you decide which action to take next.
How Does Aqualyx’s Aqualysis (or Aquaplasty) Process Work?
ConsultingRoom.com tells us that this two-part process involves the use of a liquid solution and an ultrasound device that’s “applied over the surface of the skin in the targeted area, [which] causes the movement of liquids both inside and outside the fat cells.”
What, exactly, is in this solution?
The Role of Deoxycholic Acid
As briefly mentioned earlier, Aqualyx is a compound solution (i.e., a solution whose “components can only be separated by chemical reactions that break and/or form bonds”). In this instance, the primary solution is “desoxycolan, buffered by two hydroxy-groups that take the acid to the membrane of the fat cell.”
The root ingredient of desoxycolan is deoxycholic acid, which DrugBank.ca tells us this is a bile acid that “emulsifies and solubilizes dietary fats in the intestine, and when injected subcutaneously, it disrupts cell membranes in adipocytes and destroys fat cells in that tissue.”
The main Healthxchange website explains in further detail that, using a specialized cannula to “target stubborn and small pockets of fat that cannot be removed with regular exercise and healthy eating alone,” Aqualyx’s synthetic deoxycholic acid variant "attaches to fat cell walls and causes it to become unstable, allowing the fatty acids trapped within to be released." It can also be used to treat pseudo-gynecomastia in men.
Together, the company has trademarked their process Aqualysis™ or Aquaplasty™, which is obviously something that should only be performed by a specially trained doctor or surgeon. If necessary, the doctor can add an anesthetic solution to Aqualyx to improve comfort throughout the procedure.
Once administered, the company reports that a reduction in fat deposits can usually be seen after just one treatment, although three to eight sessions are generally required to achieve optimum results.
Specific results can vary between physicians, as well as due to patient age, since they emphasize the “speed at which results are seen will vary depending on the stability of the cell membranes; younger patients are more likely to maintain results after a longer period.”
The Clinical Evidence for Aqualyx
Searching the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed for the term “desoxycolan” returned no results at the time of our research. However, the main Aqualyx website cites four clinical studies:
- A 2011 study conducted at Sapienza University, in Rome, Italy, which referenced a single patient’s development of a Buffalo Hump during the course of their HIV antiretroviral therapy. Neither Aqualyx nor deoxycholic acid is referenced, only an alternative treatment called "intralipotherapy using adipocytolytic solution."
- A 2014 paper that retroactively analyzed 331 therapeutic sessions related to an “an adipocytolytic solution,” although the terms Aqualyx, deoxycholic acid, and desoxycolan don’t appear in the text.
- A 2012 study (that we could only locate on the formula’s website) involving four tissue biopsies from the same patient, looking at the efficacy of Aqualyx when combined with external ultrasound.
- A 2012 Patient Satisfaction Evaluation Study that found Aqualyx “patients are very satisfied with the results of intralipotherapy treatments, and are even more satisfied after performing a second session.”
Can Aqualyx Fat Dissolving Injections Cause Side Effects?
Because of their unique “slow release sugar-based system,” the company tells us that Aqualyx causes fewer side effects than traditional liposuction, such as swelling, hematoma, bruising, erythema, and pain, and that patients report good tolerance of the treatment.
However, they also emphasize that patients can expect some swelling, redness, skin irritation (including bruising), and tenderness in the area treated, for fours to six days afterward.
Those who are pregnant, lactating, or have a pathological condition should not use Aqualyx.
How Much Does Aqualyx Cost?
To find out exactly how much your Aqualyx treatment will cost, you’ll need to visit the Clinic Finder section of the Healthxchange Pharmacy website and contact an independent clinic directly.
With this said, according to the Aqualyx website, treatments typically start from between £395 ($530) and £495 ($660) per area.
If you have additional questions, a company representative can also be reached at +44 1481 736837 (note: international charges may apply) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aqualyx Results: What Are Customers Saying In Their Reviews?
Although Aqualyx was introduced in Europe back in 2009, we didn’t encounter any direct online patient feedback at the time of our research. However, it’s important to emphasize that the formula currently isn’t FDA approved for any condition.
With this said, the ConsultingRoom article referenced earlier indicates that patients can expect permanent results, “under the condition of maintaining a constant weight measurement (i.e., assuming you don’t gain weight). Once the freed fatty acids have been processed through the body’s lymphatic system, they don’t reappear.”
From a company perspective, UK-based Healthxchange has been in business since 2000 and advertises themselves as “one of the most trusted and respected suppliers of pharmacy products to medical professionals with an interest in integrative and aesthetic medicines and treatments.”
Some of their other brands and products include Obagi Medical Products, Dr. LEVY Switzerland, ULTRAcel, INTRAcel, and LIPOcel, as well as their online e-pharmacy.
As far as Aqualyx itself, it was originally developed by Professor Pasquale Motolese, who was Vice President of the Italian Society of Aesthetic Surgery and Medicine.
Let’s continue our discussion about FDA approval in the next section.
Aqualyx vs. Other Injectable Fat Dissolvers: Kybella, Coolsculpting, & Lipodissolve (Mesotherapy)
Returning to the DrugBank.ca entry above, they explain that “deoxycholic acid was approved by the FDA for the treatment submental fat to improve aesthetic appearance and reduce facial fullness or convexity” in April 2015, and is currently “marketed under the brand name Kybella by Kythera Biopharma.”
What’s this mean? If you’re looking for a deoxycholic acid-based solution like Aqualyx, but one that’s also FDA approved, Kybella is currently your only option. Even then, Kybella is only approved for treating submental fullness, or double chin. However, more than one dermatologist on RealSelf.com indicated that some physicians will use it off-label (i.e., other than as directed).
Lipodissolve (also known as mesotherapy) is another non-approved injectable the Food and Drug Administration reports uses deoxycholate (like Aqualyx), in addition to phosphatidylcholine. Due to its questionable efficacy and safety, DocShop indicates that Lipodissolve isn’t offered by most reputable physicians.
Finally, Coolsculpting is a completely different form of fat cell removal. Using a process called cryolipolysis, the technology freezes and destroys fat cells, which are then naturally eliminated by the body. The company claims there’s no recovery time, although costs average somewhere in the $750 per hour range.
If you’re looking to learn more about this procedure, be sure to read about Coolsculpting’s effectiveness, side effects, and cost.
Considering that these are just a handful of the more popular fat removal treatments, how can you decide which one is right for you? Let’s carry this thought over to the final section as we wrap things up.
Our Final Thoughts About Aqualyx
In the end, because Aqualyx isn’t an FDA approved drug, this means it hasn’t been shown to “work correctly,” or that its “health benefits outweigh [the] known risks.”
And even if it had, injecting a fat dissolving solution isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly, so you’ll want to talk with your dermatologist if you’re seriously considering a treatment. After discussing your needs and perhaps running some tests, they can help steer you in the right direction.