Gastric balloon pill found safe for weight loss

Losing your weight can now be as easy as swallowing a pill as, according to a new study, gastric balloon that is swallowed like a pill — rather than surgically implanted — is safe to use and helps in significant weight loss.

Gastric balloon — also known as the bariatric technology — involves inserting a small silicon balloon filled with saline solution into a patient’s stomach through an endoscopic procedure to create a feeling of fullness so that the patient loses the urge to overeat.

The traditional procedures required endoscopy for placement and removal.

However, the new Elipse is the first procedure-less gastric balloon.

It is swallowed like a pill and gets inflated by an attached catheter with 550ml of fluid over 10 minutes, after which the catheter detaches.

After four months, a valve opens to deflate the balloon for excretion from the body.

“Elipse is a less invasive and reversible path to weight loss, which does not require anatomic modification,” said Ioannis Raftopoulos from Holyoke Medical Center in the US.

“Elipse may enable patients to remain at a healthy weight through repeat use of the device without requiring anaesthesia, incisions, or surgical risks,” Raftopoulos added.

The findings showed that at four months, the mean weight loss was 10 kg. The participants had 9.5 per cent total body weight loss.

Mean waist circumference was reduced by 8 cm and haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), measure of blood sugar control, was decreased by -0.16 per cent.

Also, improvements were seen in the levels of bad cholesterol.

“These results demonstrate clinically significant weight loss with Elipse, the first procedure-free gastric balloon,” Raftopoulos noted.

In the study, 34 patients with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 34.4 kg/m2 swallowed one Elipse device, which was filled with 550mL of filling fluid through a thin delivery catheter that was then removed.

Weight was measured every two weeks, and metabolic parameters were assessed at baseline and the end of the study.