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Preliminary tests show intragastric balloons that are swallowed found to be effective vs. obesity


PARIS – Preliminary trials have found that weight-loss balloons that are swallowed instead of being surgically implanted in the stomach have been found to be safe and effective in helping obese people lose weight.

The finding was unveiled during the ongoing European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal. The conference runs up to tomorrow.

According to reports, intragastric balloons have been used for decades to help obese person lose weight. They are inflated with water then surgically implanted in the stomach, which curbs hunger of patients by making them feel full.

Surgically implanting the weight-loss balloon is costly and requires sedation of the patient.

Roberta Ienca, an experimental medicine researcher at Rome’s Sapienza University did a small trial involving 29 obese men and 13 obese women who swallowed intragastric balloons and then inflated with liquid while in the stomach.

Ienca told Agence France Presse that a catheter is attached to the balloon, which is folded in a capsule. A doctor then fills the balloon via the catheter, which is then removed via the mouth with a tug.

The balloon stayed in the stomach of the patients for 16 weeks and the volunteers were put on a low-carb, low-calorie diet. The volunteers shed more than 13 kilos on the average, which represented 31 percent of excess weight.

At the end of the trial, an internal release valve opened and drained the balloon, which is then excreted.

The patients then went on a diet that consisted of vegetables and olive oil and light on protein and starch.

The swallowable balloons, which are made by the US-based Allurion Technologies, will require approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it is done commercially. GAC/Expat Media


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