Is the Balloon Pill the Magic Weight Loss Pill?

According to the Center of Disease Control, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Many struggle to lose weight, despite their modest attempts to make healthier food choices and take part in consistentexercise, and the existence of newly approved prescription medications QsymiaBelviq and Contrave.

 

In desperate attempts to drop pounds, some resort to specialty diets, fads and health gimmicks, which usually result in only short-term weight loss, and can often lead tomore harm than good. Additionally, many remain skeptical of going under the knife for bariatric surgery.

So, what if you could swallow one pill that could help you lose weight?

 

Potential weight loss breakthrough?

There is a new weight control device that brings the promise of easy loss after one, simple gulp.  A new non-surgical advancement promises to help struggling dieters in their battle of the bulge. Manufactured as the Eclipse device , it is commonly called the “balloon pill.”

 

A study presented in early November at Obesity Week 2015, hosted by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and The Obesity Society, unveiled the new device. Dr. John Morton, chief of bariatric surgery at Stanford University and president of ASMBS described it simply – it is a balloon that a patient swallows, similar to that of a large pill. Healthy, consistent and lasting weight loss follows.

 

How does it work?

The patient swallows the deflated balloon that is connected to a narrow catheter. Once it reaches the stomach, doctors fill it with up to a half of a liter of fluid. The fluid filled balloon occupies space in the stomach, and reduces the capacity for the stomach to be filled with food. This allows the patient to eat less, yet still feel full. While the balloon is inflated, patients lose weight. Along with balloon therapy, patients are concurrently counseled to eat healthier portion controlled meals and to exercise so that behaviors are sustained after the balloon is deflated.

 

How much weight did participants lose?

Researchers presented interim results for the first 34 patients of the multi-center study that demonstrated participants lost an average of 22 pounds after four months. Participants also saw improvements in the triglycerides and hemoglobin A1c levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.  As with other gastric balloons (ReShape Dual Balloon and Orbera Intragastric Balloon System are FDA approved but require surgical implantation), the most common adverse events reported were nausea and vomiting.

 

Where can you get it?

The Elipse device manufactured by Allurion Technologies is not yet FDA approved or commercially available in the United States. It is still being studied in Europe. And although it appears promising to those desperate to lose weight, it is not actually a magic pill.  It is designed to be a weight control tool to adjunct other efforts to lose weight. The science behind losing weight may be advancing, but the foundation remains that adopting healthy lifestyles is the most effective way to lose weight and to keep it off.

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