Slimming pill that expands in the stomach could help fight obesity

Caroline Allen
The capsules expand in the stomach and could provide doctors with a new tool to fight obesity. [Photo: Getty]

Scientists have created a breakthrough pill which may provide doctors with a new tool to tackle obesity.

The capsules expand in the stomach when taken with water before lunch and dinner. The mixture of food and liquid creates a gel-like mass.

This will give people the feeling of being full, even though they’ll be eating smaller portions.

The pills are created using cellulose and citric acid, which the scientists behind it describe as “naturally derived building blocks”.

READ MORE: Is there a link between childhood obesity and health problems?

The pill isn’t being described a drug, but rather a medical device. It doesn’t have the same side-effects as the many stimulant-based weight-loss pills currently available.

The hope is that millions of obese people will be able to lose weight without using a gastric band surgery or medication.

440 obese adults took part in the initial study of the pill. Of those, six out of ten had a “meaningful response” whilst taking the pill.

They lost, on average, 10 per cent of their weight during the trial. That’s the equivalent of 22lbs (10kg).

READ MORE: Being slightly overweight doubles your risk of type 2 diabetes

Chief Medical Officer of the manufacturer Gelesis, Harry Leider, told The Times: “We are really optimistic that millions of people will benefit.”

He continues: “There really is an unmet need for new treatments that are effective for the majority and are really well tolerated.”

A major study of 2.8 million adults revealed that people with a body max index (BMI) of 30 to 35 had a 70 per cent higher risk of heart failure compared to those with a BMI under 30. Those with a BMI of 35 to 40 doubled the risk of heart failure.

A BMI of 25 to 30 increased the risk by 20 per cent and a BMI of 40-45 quadrupled the risk.

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