Researchers create 'one-off pill' to help obese people lose weight

19 May 2017

A pill containing a balloon could help millions of UK citizens to lose over 12kg, according to a study.

The results of the study were unveiled at the world's largest obesity conference, which showed it could be an effective alternative to weight loss surgery.

According to experts, the NHS now needed to consider funding the pills for millions of UK citizens, with over one in four obese.

After it is swallowed, the balloon in the pill swells up in the stomach when it is filled with water, which restricts the amount of calories a person can consume.

The study, which involved 42 adults, found that they lost two almost 15.42kg on average after four months.

Since the Elipse Balloon does not require endoscopy, surgery or anaesthesia, this might make it suitable for a larger population of obese patients according to experts.

The pill has been dubbed a ''gastric band in a tablet". It is licensed for use, but is not yet available on the NHS.

It costs around 3,000 privately - around half the price of stomach stapling, a surgical procedure to limit the amount of food a person can eat.

According to researchers from the University of Rome, the balloon technique could be used widely to bring ''significant cost savings'' to health services in the long run.

Similar devices have been in use for decades to induce feelings of fullness but intragastric balloons [IGBs] have required painful procedures.

All participants had not been able to lose weight through dieting alone and had earlier refused IGBs.

At the start of the study the average weight of 42 volunteers was 110 kg and their BMI [body mass index] was 39, but after 16 weeks the average weight loss was 15.2 kg or 31 per cent while BMI dropped by 4.9.

No serious adverse effects were observed by scientists at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, who tested the pioneering equipment. However, they noted significant reductions in diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

 search domain-b