Gastric balloon pill launched in UK

Obesity in the United Kingdom is a growing health worry and is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. According to Forbes, United Kingdom ranks 28 on a 2009 list of fattest countries and nowadays the adult obesity rates says that 23.1% of British people is now being obese.

But not everything are bad news, the UK has got rather overexcited about the launch of a gastric balloon in pill form that can be swallowed to help overweight people achieve rapid weight loss without invasive surgery.

The pills are designed to be inflated into balloons in the stomach, reducing the free volume of the stomach and therefore how much a person can eat before they feel full.

Intra-gastric balloons are not new, and neither the gastric balloon in pill form that already exists in other countries as Spain, where the results are hopefully for those obese patients who doesn’t want to treat their obesity with the traditional surgery.

It is a new medical device designed for direct ingestion by the patient. The patient swallows the capsule and when it reaches the stomach it is filled with a gaseous solution until it reaches a volume of 250 cc. More than one device can be swallowed, in all cases subject to medical criteria.  The balloon insertion process is supervised by the medical team and does not require an endoscopy.

Who is the balloon pill suitable for?

The oral intragastric balloon is indicated in moderately overweight or obese patients who have not been able to lose weight with other programmes. However the main indication is in patients with an excess weight of 10 to 15 kilos (with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27).

The balloon remains in the stomach for 3 months from the time the first one from the series is inserted. The quantity of weight lost depends on how the patient adapts to the long-term changes in his/her way of life in terms of consumption and exercise.

Studies have reported losses of over 40% in excess weight after 3 months of treatment.

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