Obalon gastric weight loss pill which releases a balloon in patients launches in the UK

The apple-sized balloon is encased in a pill which patients swallow

A weight loss pill that releases a gastric balloon into a patient’s stomach when it is swallowed has been launched in the UK.

While other gastric balloons require invasive surgery, the new 10-minute treatment involves the patient consuming a capsule the size of a large vitamin.

When the capsule containing the balloon reaches the patient’s stomach, the ball is inflated to the size of an apple using an attached micro-catheter – a type of thin medical tube. The capsule then dissolves.

Similarly to other gastric weight-loss treatments, as the balloon sits on top of the patient’s stomach they feel full, and therefore eat less and should lose weight.

Patients consume a second balloon 30 days later, and, depending on their progress, can receive a third balloon after further 30 days.

A picture showing Obalon, a new weight loss balloon that can be swallowed in a pill, and has been launched across the UK A picture showing Obalon, a new weight loss balloon that can be swallowed in a pill, and has been launched across the UK  

When the treatment is over, the balloons are deflated and removed using a thin, long, flexible tube which is inserted into the patient’s throat.

The balloons are considered to be short-term treatments in comparison to other invasive gastric weight-loss procedures.

The method is recommended for people with a body mass index of 27, meaning they would be generally classified obese according the the index.

'Sugar is the new tobacco': Cuts to amounts hidden in food could halt obesity epidemic, claim doctors

Clinical trials in the UK and in the US of the product known as Obalon, have shown that patients can lose an average of 1st, 3lbs (7.7kg) in 12 weeks.

Trials also showed that around 7 per cent of patients had some side-effects including vomiting, cramps and reflux, which generally subsided within a day or so.

43-year-old Helene Fleckney from Shenley in Hertfordshire who has undergone the treatment, said: “[A]history of heart disease and diabetes runs in my family, so I knew I had to take action with my weight gain to lower my risk of susceptibility.

"Obalon has proved an easy and quick treatment to help me lose weight. I'm not even fully through the treatment process yet and I've already lost a stone.

"I'm looking forward to eating more healthily, doing more exercise and ensuring my weight loss struggles are a thing of the past."

Obalon starts at £2,995 for two-balloons, and is currently available at some private hospitals, but not on the NHS.

Claim that half overweight by 2050 ‘underestimates obesity problem’

However, Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, told Sky News that prevention was a better method: "What you really have to do is to do everything you can to maintain a proper weight, healthy living, healthy lifestyle so you never get up to a BMI of 27."

Sally Norton, a Consultant Nurse at Spire Hospital, said: “I've been monitoring Obalon's progress over the last few years as I was very excited about the potential it could offer those patients who do not qualify for weight loss surgery but are struggling to lose weight and improve their health on their own.

“It gives patients an initial weight-loss boost but also helps to change their eating behaviour - which is needed for long-term, weight-loss.”

Read more:
Slim, unfit men are 'less likely' to suffer heart attacks than fit obese men

Additional reporting by Press Association

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

    Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

    MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

    Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

    Recruitment Genius: Production / Manufacturing Operative

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading garage door manufacturer are curr...

    Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software / Solution Sales

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a thri...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific