Could The 'Weight Loss Balloon' Be A Miracle Drug?

| Women's Health

A magic pill for weight loss seems as far-fetched as teleporting (come on, science). But Women's Health reports that researchers may have cracked it with Obalon, an Rx pill that contains not meds, but — get ready for it — a balloon. Yes… a tiny, inflatable balloon.

colorful balloons in the sky

Receive a prescription for this drug and you'll swallow a capsule attached to a small tube. Once it’s hanging around down in your stomach, a doc uses that tube to pump a nitrogen-mixed gas to inflate it (each balloon holds about a cup of gas; you can swallow up to three of the pills over a three-month period). The tube comes out and the air-filled sack in your gut remains, taking up space you’d otherwise fill with another slice of pizza. You get the idea.

At the six-month marker, docs remove the balloons.

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Obalon has already been approved in Europe. And in a U.S. trial, researchers found the method helped obese patients shed nearly 7 percent of their body weight over six months, compared to those who swallowed a placebo sugar pill, who lost roughly 4 percent. Now the drug is awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

However, the slimming didn’t come without side effects —90 percent of study participants experienced mild abdominal cramping and nausea. You know, from the balloon in their stomach…

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The obvious question: Could this be a magic bullet for shedding extra pounds? Meh.

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