There’s an interesting new way that some folks are losing weight. Called “balloon pills,” they are brands of weight loss pills that are called gastric balloon pills, as seen in the below video from Today. The theory behind these balloon pills aren’t that the pills contain any drugs to help reduce appetite, but the balloon pills are swallowed and then inflated in the stomach to provide a full feeling. It’s a similar theory to gastric bypass surgery and the like, without the surgery.
The balloon pills are working for some folks, as reported by People. The big buzz over the gastric balloon pill for weight loss helped one woman named Virginia Trice lose 70 pounds without surgery. The balloon pills aren’t for everyone who wants to lose weight, however. The person’s BMI must range between 30 to 40, and the gastric pills are ideal for those folks who don’t weigh enough for gastric surgery, but still want to lose weight.
The balloon pills can be placed inside the stomach for approximately four to six months, and could help people lose around 20 to 70 pounds, even if they don’t work for everyone. The balloon pills also come with non-desirable side effects, like sickness and vomiting the first few days — and perhaps tummy pain. After three days, the symptoms from the balloon pills should subside.
The 59-year-old Trice experienced success with a balloon pill called “ReShape” that she had inserted in 2012. Both ReShape and Orbera are now approved by the FDA. Trice ate about one third less of the food she previously ate prior to having the balloon pill inserted. The balloon pills aren’t cheap, however, and can cost $7,500 to $10,000 — without being covered by insurance.
Included in those costs are nutritional programs that teach patients how to eat, as well. Even though it only takes about 15 minutes to swallow the balloon pill and have the new weight-loss procedure activated, balloon pill patients still have to learn a whole new way of eating less with the gastric balloon inserted. The silicon balloon makes the patients feel full, and the ReShape, Elipse, and Orbera balloon pills are removed through the system after about four to six months.
The Elipse balloon pill for weight loss is at a much earlier stage than the other balloon pills for weight loss, reports the Los Angeles Times. Testing of the Elipse pill recently provided bariatric surgeons with the results from the first human experience with the Elipse balloon pill. Experts are debating if the balloon pill is really a saving grace for those who’ve tried to lose weight using other means and haven’t yet had success — or if the balloon pill is another weight loss fad.
Those who’ve experienced success with the weight loss balloon pills surely tout the balloon pill benefits, even if the studies involving patients who’ve used the balloon pills to lose weight have involved only a small number of patients. There are other risks with the balloon pill potentially popping, as well.
Then there are the stories of those who just didn’t lose that much weight using the balloon pill. In three months, Dr. Arun Ghosh, an obese doctor, said he only lost two pounds after trying a balloon pill for weight loss, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Dr. Ghosh described how the balloon pill was removed after being deflated, a fact that took away his “pot belly” from the balloon pill right away. Although he only lost two pounds in 12 weeks from the balloon pill, Dr. Ghosh lost five pounds in the two weeks following the removal of the balloon pills, which he attributes to exercise and a healthier diet.
[Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images]