Is It Safe To Use Qwo, The New FDA-Approved Cellulite Treatment?



What for those who might eliminate cellulite in a number of months, with no way of life modifications and no invasive procedures? That’s the promise of Qwo, the first and only injectable treatment for cellulite accredited by the Food and Drug Administration.

Qwo was approved in July 2020 and was first supplied across the nation at dermatologists’ workplaces and medi-spas in late spring 2021. It goals to cut back the looks of cellulite in three rounds of injections, every 21 days aside. And whereas the remedy itself isn’t new, this utilization of it’s. (It was beforehand used to deal with a hand situation that we’ll speak about under.)

While some docs really feel it’s a secure, noninvasive therapy choice, others are ready to see its long-term results earlier than leaping on board.

How Qwo Works

Cellulite, dimpled-looking pores and skin the place fats accumulates on the physique, impacts 90% of women and 10% of men, in accordance with Scientific American. Cellulite isn’t prompted a lot by the fats itself, however by the strain between muscle tissue and pores and skin that squeezes the fats to the floor.

“Our skin is attached to the underlying muscles by tight fibrous bands, and in between the bands is fat,” stated Kristen Rezak, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Duke Health. “Over time, the skin can loosen up or we gain fat, and that causes dimpling areas because these tight bands don’t stretch, and that’s what causes cellulite. It usually is targeted in areas like the butt and outside of the thighs.”

The predominant components in Qwo are two types of collagenase, an enzyme derived from micro organism that breaks down collagen, the primary part of these fibrous bands. Once these bands are damaged, the dimples will launch and the pores and skin will look easy once more. Collagenase (under the name Xiaflex) has been utilized in medication for years to deal with Dupuytren’s contracture, a situation that impacts the arms and bends your fingers inward.

“Dupuytren’s is caused by these fibrous bands that cause the tip of the finger to bend toward the palm,” stated Peter W. Henderson, assistant professor of cosmetic surgery and a breast reconstructive surgeon at Mount Sinai Health System. “The substance is something that’s well-known and is currently being used in other initiatives; they’ve just identified another use for it, one with a bigger market. The material is well-known and known to be safe.”

“In both the Phase II and Phase III trials, around 60% of patients found they had any degree of improvement. So, it’s statistically significant but not a complete home run.”

– Abigail Waldman, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Despite collagenase’s good monitor file, Qwo nonetheless needed to endure all the phases of FDA approval for the therapy of cellulite. While it proved considerably efficient in trials, some docs say the change wasn’t dramatic.

“They did Phase III studies that enrolled over 800 women, and it showed an all right effect,” stated Abigail Waldman, a medical director of the Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“The outcome was measured in whether patients were slightly happier or much happier, basically. In both the Phase II and Phase III trials, around 60% of patients found they had any degree of improvement. So, it’s statistically significant but not a complete home run.”

While Qwo’s web site doesn’t specify how lengthy outcomes are anticipated to final, a variety of medi-spas providing the therapy declare they need to final a minimal of 1 yr.

Anaya Aesthetics, primarily based in Pasadena, California, states, “To-date, we have data to support longevity for a few years and will continue to monitor how many years patients can expect to see the substantial improvement.” DC Derm Docs’ web site says, “The FDA- approved treatment for moderate to severe cellulite may last permanently. You can expect your Qwo results at least one year, but most likely, much longer.”

Is Qwo more practical than different cellulite remedies?

Liposuction and CoolSculpting can cut back fats, however they don’t particularly goal cellulite. Other extra invasive procedures use slicing strategies to sever the connective bands. Lasers, radiofrequency, retinol lotions and extra all declare to attenuate cellulite’s look. But how does Qwo evaluate?

“It’s attractive because it’s an easy, minimally invasive treatment option for those who don’t want a more invasive procedure,” stated Teo Soleymani, a medical well being sciences teacher and dermatologic surgeon at UCLA Health. “There is relatively minimal downtime compared to other modalities. But, as a result, the outcomes may not be as pronounced or you may not be able to treat as large of an area.”

See under for an instance of a before-and-after picture that Qwo promotes, and also you’ll see the distinction isn’t dramatic:

Henderson cited latest research on Qwo’s outcomes that make it appear promising, however stated that because the researchers had been affiliated with the therapy, he’d wish to see extra unbiased proof of its effectiveness over time.

“None of these things have been shown to be very effective,” Henderson stated. “We don’t have a great clinical solution for cellulite so far, so the fact we have seen [Qwo] work in other parts of the body makes this an intriguing possibility.”

There’s severe bruising concerned with Qwo.

Qwo’s web site lists its doable unwanted side effects, which embrace injection website bruising, ache, redness, swelling and allergic reactions. A fast Google search will reveal earlier than and after pictures with bruises masking a big space, not simply on the injection websites. Should that be regarding?

“Collagen also composes the lining of blood vessel walls, so we’re starting to see bruising can be extensive with Qwo partly because it can sometimes break down the very tiny blood vessels in the skin or subcutaneous tissue. It’s not harmful, but it’s visually bothersome,” Soleymani stated.

Henderson agreed, saying that whereas the fibrous bands liable for cellulite aren’t the one issues product of collagen in that space of the physique, they’ve the best focus, making them Qwo’s predominant goal. However, Rezak defined {that a} small share of people that expertise extreme bruising could by no means heal.

“The downside is, when you have that much extensive bruising, almost always it usually just goes away but it can take weeks to a month to look like skin again. A small percentage of people can have hemosiderin staining, which stains the skin dark. That’s not been associated with Qwo, but is possible with extensive bruising,” she stated.

Is Qwo secure? What are the long-term results?

Rezak and Waldman each questioned the shortage of variety in Qwo’s Phase III trial: all of its contributors had been girls and the bulk had been white, so it’s “hard to know if it can be applied to a more diverse population,” Waldman stated.

Qwo has not been accessible lengthy sufficient to know a lot about its long-term results, however some physicians surprise if the physique will deal with it equally to Botox.

“In the studies, almost everyone developed antibodies to the collagenase, which makes sense because it’s a foreign bacteria enzyme,” Waldman stated. “I don’t know what the implications for that are. For other bacterial-derived injections, like Botox, that means in the future it doesn’t work for you. I don’t know if the same theory applies here, where if you got Qwo again in the future maybe it wouldn’t work.”

And whereas the bruising could subside, docs don’t but perceive if there are long-term penalties of collagenase breaking down collagen within the blood vessels or pores and skin across the injection space.

“We don’t really know what the long-term implications of that are, which is probably what makes me the most hesitant about this,” Waldman stated. “Since it hasn’t been FDA-approved for long, we don’t know what long-term ramifications are to breaking down collagen in your connective tissue.”

“Clinician expertise and having done this makes a big difference. Some people are more sensitive to this enzyme, so there’s a chance for atrophy of the skin. I can see this happening in unsupervised med spas.”

– Teo Soleymani, UCLA Health

Until extra is understood about potential problems from Qwo, those that decide to strive it ought to rigorously think about the supply.

“Theoretically, if you inject it too shallow or not at the right angle, you can place this collagenase in the dermis and that can cause poor outcomes in the skin,” Soleymani stated. “That’s where clinician expertise and having done this makes a big difference. Some people are more sensitive to this enzyme, so there’s a chance for atrophy of the skin. I can see this happening in unsupervised med spas.”

“Unfortunately, in academia, I deal with a lot of complications that arise from these kinds of treatments, like contour deformities and fat necrosis, and they’re hard to treat. We can’t always predict the outcomes of these treatments,” Rezak stated.

If you resolve to strive Qwo, these specialists agree that you need to discover somebody who can take your medical historical past under consideration and is very certified to carry out the injections.

“For all types of injectables, I recommend getting them from a board-certified dermatologist or board-certified plastic surgeon. Side effects and complications are rare, but you want someone familiar with the anatomy who can manage complications,” Waldman stated.

Most importantly, discuss to your Qwo supplier about whether or not the therapy is true to your physique. Each affected person, and every affected person’s cellulite, is exclusive.

“Unfortunately, it’s not a magic bullet for all cellulite,” Soleymani stated. “The right patient selection is critical, as it is with every cosmetic treatment. It’s nice for people who have a few small problem areas who don’t want to undergo bigger, more involved procedures, but with the understanding that you’re going to get less effective treatment overall. If you’re someone who has a lot of dimpling or have already tried body contouring or laser-assisted cellulite reduction, this may not work great for you.”