DDW: New Ingestible Balloon System May Help Fight Obesity

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DDW: New Ingestible Balloon System May Help Fight Obesity
DDW: New Ingestible Balloon System May Help Fight Obesity

TUESDAY, May 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A new ingestible and inflatable balloon system, Obalon, shows promise as a noninvasive way to curb appetite and assist weight loss efforts, according to research presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 21 to 24 in San Diego.

For the trial, 366 obese patients were divided into two groups. Half swallowed three Obalon balloons; the other half swallowed three placebo capsules. "Once it's reached the stomach, we inflate the balloon with a nitrogen mixed gas," study author Shelby Sullivan, M.D., director of bariatric endoscopy at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, told HealthDay. Patients ingest three capsules in all: the second at three weeks, and a third at either week nine or 12. When expanded, each balloon holds 750 cubic centimeters of gas. At six months, all balloons are removed through an outpatient endoscopic procedure.

Over six months, the placebo group lost 3.6 percent of their weight, on average, compared with 6.8 percent among the Obalon patients. And nearly two-thirds of the Obalon group lost at least 5 percent of their weight, compared to just a third of the placebo group.

Obalon is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Ongoing studies to assess its benefits have been funded by the system's manufacturer, Obalon Therapeutics. A second balloon system, known as Elipse, is also being tested in ongoing trials.

Sullivan disclosed receiving funding from Obalon Therapeutics.

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