The FDA just approved the first-ever injectable treatment for cellulite, Endo Aesthetics’ Qwo™, and early indications are that it’s going to be a game-changer.

Despite a regular exercise regimen and healthy diet, cellulite is something that many women — nine out of 10 of us, to be precise — can’t shake. There are many topical treatments (think: lotions and scrubs) on the market that temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, and a few surgical procedures address the bands under the skin’s surface that can lead to dimpling. Now, there will be a minimally invasive cosmetic solution providing women an injectable option that goes below the surface of the skin to address the cause of cellulite.

Endo Aesthetics recently received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Qwo™ (a.k.a. collagenase clostridium histolyticum-aaes), becoming the first injectable indicated to treat moderate to severe cellulite of the buttocks in adult women.

How Qwo™ Works

So, how does the cellulite-smoothing injectable work? New York City-based board certified dermatologist and Qwo™ clinical investigator Anne Chapas, MD, says Qwo™ is the first-ever minimally invasive injectable procedure that releases fibrous septae enzymatically by specifically targeting types 1 and 3 collagen. “This means the injectable is targeting the bands beneath the skin surface directly, which results in the smoothing of the skin for the improved appearance of cellulite,” she adds.

The Qwo™ Treatment

Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a board certified dermatologist and Qwo™ clinical investigator in Westport, Connecticut, says that the process for Qwo™ is quick and easy. “The area is first marked up with a pen of the target areas and then your doctor will inject the marked up area,” she explains. Patients do not need anesthesia (the treatment is, reportedly, relatively painless), and they can leave their doctors’ offices and go about their day as they normally would. “During the trials, my patients said it hurt less than Botox®, which makes sense since your buttocks have more fat than your face,” Dr. Mraz Robinson notes.

Qwo™ Recovery & Results

“Although there is no perfect, quick fix, viable adult women patients can expect a distinct difference in the appearance of cellulite on their buttocks,” Dr. Chapas shares. In order to get FDA approval, clinical trial participants and investigators needed to ensure they were reporting a two-point improvement in cellulite severity, ”which basically means going from having a lot of cellulite to a visibly smooth bum,” she says. Endo included women of all Fitzpatrick skin types in the trial, with nearly 30 percent of those treated with Qwo™ being Fitzpatrick IV, V, and VI. “So, we know this works on women of all ethnicities, which is great because women of all ages, colors, and body types get cellulite,” Dr. Chapas explains.

How does Qwo™ compare to Cellfina® and Cellulaze® — the two cellulite procedures currently on the market? “While Cellfina® and Cellulaze® also target the bands under the surface of the skin, they work by severing the septae mechanically, either by knife or with laser energy, and not showing significant results,” Dr. Mraz Robinson says. “Qwo™ is minimally invasive and injected into the skin, with a much simpler recovery and visible results.”

SIDE EFFECTS

Like any injectable treatment, there is a risk of swelling and bruising at the injection site. Dr. Mraz Robinson says patients can expect bruising to last up to two weeks, so she advises patients to plan their treatments accordingly. “You should not get this the week you are heading for a beach vacation,” she cautions.

Qwo™ Cost & Maintenance

Qwo™ requires a total of three sessions, spaced 21 days apart for a lasting result of a year or more. Each session takes about 30 minutes. While the cost of Qwo™ has not yet been determined, Endo Aesthetics aims to price it for widespread adoption. Dr. Mraz Robinson believes the market is ready for its arrival, for patients are eager for a cellulite treatment that actually works. “I expect that Qwo™ will be in high-demand when it launches in 2021,” she says.

Written by Amber Katz