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New pill that helps patients lose 15% of their body weight – and keep it off for a year


A WEIGHT loss pill that helps patients lose 15 per cent of their body weight is being made available at an NHS hospital.

The treatment takes 15 minutes and involves a capsule containing a gastric balloon that is filled with water after it is swallowed and helps make people feel fuller, so they eat less.

Danielle Worden, 40, from Rugby, Warwickshire, says the Allurion gastric ballon was the “best present I could ever give myself”
She has lost three and a half stone since September on the treatment

Allurion, the company behind the pill, said it has been in talks with NHS trusts about rolling out the treatment since it was approved in 2020.

The first two NHS patients to have been treated at Musgrove Park Hospital, part of Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, have already lost around two stone in two months, Allurion said.

Professor Richard Welbourn, consultant bariatric surgeon at the trust, said: “We are very pleased to be able to offer this new treatment, a first for the NHS, that offers clinically meaningful weight loss as part of a holistic programme involving dietary support and care.

“People with severe obesity are prone to diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, which can be reversed with weight loss.

“The Allurion balloon is a 15-minute outpatient procedure, and is swallowed, so there’s no need for an endoscopy, hospital bed, theatre time or anaesthetic, which is better for the NHS and a much-improved experience for our patients.

“We expect that patients using the programme will lose 10 to 15 per cent of their weight in four months, which improves quality of life and makes patients healthier.”

The Allurion swallowable gastric balloon capsule was approved for weight loss by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in November 2020.

The guidelines did not make it clear who meets the criteria to be given the treatment, but bariatric surgery is usually reserved for obese people with a BMI of over 40 or 35 if they have other conditions.

A quarter of British adults are obese while a further are 38 per cent are overweight.

Less invasive options like endoscopic intragastric balloons are given to people who are unable to lose weight by non-surgical measures who do not want surgery.

The balloon is being offered to patients under the care of Musgrove Park Hospital’s bariatric surgery team who aren’t clinically fit enough for surgery.

NICE special arrangements are in place because it is for short-term use as a pre-intervention before surgery, an Allurion spokesperson told The Sun.

A further three NHS patients are due to be treated with it in early February this year, with up to a dozen others also scheduled.

Privately, the pills are available to overweight adults with a BMI over 27, who are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding and have not had stomach or esophageal surgery.

Danielle Worden, 40, from Rugby, Warwickshire, had the treatment privately and said it was the “best present I could ever give myself”.

She said: “Since having it fitted in September, I’ve already lost three and a half stone and I even continued to lose weight over the foody festive period thanks to all the tools and knowledge the program has given me.  

“It’s given me the gift of self-confidence. I’ve now also had the courage to join my local gym, where I’ve made lots of new friends.”

‘BEST PRESENT EVER’

The pill differs from some other gastric balloons in that it requires no surgery, endoscopy or anaesthesia to place it.

The balloon, tucked inside a capsule, is swallowed by the patient and filled with water during a 15-minute doctor’s visit.

The patient swallows the capsule which is attached to a thin tube.

An X-ray confirms the correct placement in the stomach and 550ml of water is put into the balloon via the tube.

A second X-ray is then taken to check the balloon is full and sitting well in the stomach. The tube is then removed.

After around four months, a time-activated release valve automatically opens, allowing the water-filled balloon to empty and pass naturally through the gastrointestinal tract.

Data suggests the device helps patients lose an average of 10 to 15 per cent of their body weight after 16 weeks.

Furthermore, people managed to keep 95 per cent of their weight off for a year after treatment. 

A nutrition and lifestyle programme is provided by Allurion to help keep people on track.

Dr Shantanu Gaur, founder and chief executive of Allurion, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the NHS for the first time to deliver the Allurion programme.

“We are looking forward to expanding this partnership and benefiting many more NHS patients in the months and years to come.”



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