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The $4000 DIET PILL


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The $4,000 Diet Pill The magic fat blaster you've always dreamed about is here, and it's drug-free. Liz Krieger explores the latest treatments.
By Liz Krieger on Jul 22, 2014

It sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland: a pill that truly makes you smaller. "Pill," however, is something of a misnomer because inside this capsule is actually a deflated balloon, called the Obalon. But it can help you shed pounds—without even trying. Here's how it works: First, you swallow the pill, which is attached to a long, slim tube. Once the pill has made its way to your stomach, doctors use the tube to inflate the balloon with gas; the tube is then disconnected and pulled out. The balloon can stay in for up to three months, and you can have up to three balloons in place at a time. The idea is that the balloon(s) simply make you feel full. After 12 weeks, during an endoscopy done under light sedation, a doctor deflates the balloon and removes it through your mouth.

Although manufacturer Obalon Therapeutics makes no specific weight loss promise, in a recent study, 110 patients lost an average of 50 percent of their excess weight, or more than 8 percent of their total body weight, in three months. And while the Obalon is not FDA approved for use in the U.S., since 2012, patients abroad have been swallowing the pill, which has a price tag of up to $4,000 a pop. (In the U.S., preliminary safety trials have been done, and a larger, clinical trial is planned.) The most common complaints are nausea and vomiting, but those tend to dissipate after 72 hours, says bariatric surgeon Ariel Ortiz, director of the Obesity Control Center in Tijuana, Mexico, who helped develop the Obalon. As with any device, there's a chance it could cause an obstruction if it got lodged in a tight spot, notes bariatric surgeon Aurora Pryor, director of Stony Brook Medicine's Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center on New York's Long Island. The odds of a balloon actually popping are rare, according to Obalon, but if that were to occur, it should travel (uneventfully) through to your, um, bottom line.

For U.K. resident Helene Fleckney, 45, the Obalon has ended a long struggle with her weight. Fleckney enrolled in an Obalon trial last fall, ultimately swallowing two of the pills over several weeks. Twelve weeks later she had both balloons removed—and was 19 pounds lighter. "It's quick and painless," says Fleckney, who notes that she has lost an additional six pounds since then. "I've gotten used to eating smaller portions," she says. This pill "could be a serious game changer in the field of obesity treatment," says John Morton, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, California. Pryor says that a reversible device like this could straddle the line between bariatric and plastic surgery: "I could imagine someone wanting this before a big reunion or something." And for some people, doing it a few times in a row may mean they can extend the treatment past the three-month mark, although studies of that duration have not been done.

For more information visit www.stomagic.com or www.obesitycontrolcenter.com

or call 1-866-376-7849

link to complete article: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/health-wellness-articles/latest-weight-loss-treatments-0814

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