New treatment for obesity: Combo of surgery and obesity drug

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The Treatment

According to an international multi-center study presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Dublin, a new treatment combining a procedure-free swallowable gastric balloon and the commonly prescribed anti-obesity drug, liraglutide, is a safe and effective way to boost weight loss.

The Allurion Balloon, also known as Elipse, is the world’s first and only procedure-free swallowable gastric balloon.

It is placed without surgery, endoscopy, or anesthesia and passes out of the body naturally after approximately 16 weeks.

Liraglutide, sold under the brand name Saxenda, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) that enhances feelings of fullness (satiety) and suppresses appetite and is effective in treating obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The Study

The study, led by Dr. Roberta Ienca at the Nuova Villa Claudia Clinic in Rome, evaluated the efficacy and safety of the Allurion Balloon in combination with liraglutide.

A total of 181 patients (145 women and 36 men) were enrolled at three international multidisciplinary obesity centers in Italy, Spain, and Egypt.

After swallowing, the balloon is filled with liquid once it reaches the stomach. Placement is done in a 20-minute outpatient visit, and the balloon typically stays in the patient for 15-17 weeks.

Between 4 and 16 weeks after balloon placement, liraglutide was added once daily to enhance weight loss and increase patient satisfaction.

After 16 weeks of balloon treatment, participants lost an average of 13kg and 14% of their initial body weight, well above the 5-10% considered clinically meaningful weight loss.

Once the balloon passed out of the body, patients transitioned to a Mediterranean diet for weight maintenance and continued liraglutide for at least 6 months.

At the end of the treatment with liraglutide, participants lost on average 18kg and 19% of their initial body weight.

Safety and Efficacy

No serious adverse events were recorded. Balloon-related adverse events including nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps were managed with medication.

Liraglutide-related adverse events included nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and headache.

Dr. Ienca stated that the Allurion Program delivers excellent weight loss in individuals with overweight and obesity without surgery, and liraglutide can further enhance weight loss safely.

She added, “The ease of use, low rate of adverse events, and potentially lower cost of the Allurion Program could enable the much wider application of this critical intervention and, ultimately, help the millions who struggle with obesity and its associated health complications.”

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