Weight loss may be as simple as taking a new pill, recent research presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal, revealed. Study participants lost an average of 34 pounds in four months (that’s 8.5 pounds per month) with the gastric balloon pill.
The medicine, called “The Elipse Balloon,” may prove a welcome alternative to more invasive weight loss surgery. Individuals take the pill, which is actually a balloon with a long tube attached, and it gets filled with water via the cord before the tube is removed. Unlike surgical options, the balloon is only temporary. After four months, it safely releases the water in the individual’s stomach, and the balloon material is expelled with waste.
The swallowable gastric band was studied by a team of researchers at the University of Rome. They looked at 42 adults over the course of four months and found they lost around 34 pounds on average by the end of the study. Numbers for health metrics like blood pressure and cholesterol improved as well. When the study wrapped, the patients were urged to adhere to the principles of a Mediterranean diet to keep the weight off. (Mounting research shows you should probably be eating a Mediterranean diet anyways, even if you’re not trying to lose weight.)
Scientists believe this gastric band “in a pill” could save patients substantial amounts of money. Currently, the tablet is licensed for use, but it is not yet available with England’s National Health Service or in the U.S. The technology was developed by U.S.-based company Allurion Technologies. According to The Star, they intend to begin the FDA approval process in the U.S. shortly.