"Smart pill" shows promise as weight loss treatment
While there is no magic weight loss pill, a new “smart pill” called Gelesis100 showed promising results in obese and overweight individuals who also exercised and followed a diet. The results were recently presented at the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society.
The pill’s manufacturer ran a three-month First Loss Of Weight (FLOW) study to determine its success rate. Gelesis100 works by targeting satiety and restricting the amount of calories consumed. The pill uses thousands of hydrogel particles that expand in the stomach, mixing with digested food and increasing the volume and elasticity of food content within the stomach and small intestines. The particles have the same elasticity as digested foods without the calories.
Two doses of the pill were tested. Forty-three individuals took two pills per day: one before lunch and the other before dinner at 2.25g. Another 42 participants took the same amount but at a higher dosage of 3.75g. A third group of 43 participants took a placebo to serve as a control group. The study was blind, as no one knew whether they received a placebo or the pill. All participants were instructed to eat 600 fewer calories in their daily diet.
People who took 2.25g lost 6.1 percent of their body weight; people who took 3.75g lost 4.5 percent of their body weight; the placebo group lost 4.1 percent. People who were prediabetic had the greatest weight loss, with 10.9 percent. It’s unclear why higher dosages caused less weight loss, but one researcher speculates the higher dose caused lower tolerability and, therefore, hindered compliance with the study.
Common side effects of the pill included bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhea. No serious side effects were reported.