Alabama Bariatrics & Minimally Invasive Surgery

Bariatric Diet Orbera Gastric Band Sleeve Gastrectomy Gastric Bypass

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Madison, Huntsville, and Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791

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Weight Loss Miracle?

It is human nature to be impatient. People are prone to wanting instantaneous benefits without the loss of too much time, money, and comfort. It is why we innovate and adapt to overcome harsh environmental conditions. Necessity is the mother of invention and if we didn’t find ways to save time and energy we would still be cavemen hunting for our own food.

Unfortunately, the need to make things easier on ourselves is often the pressure point that con-artists and snake oil salesmen rely on. They prey on your insecurities by offering a quick cure for an exorbitant amount of money, then reaping the rewards while you wind up broke and even more insecure.

So, when news hit on the market about a gastric bypass pill, it would be easy for anyone to wary if not skeptical of such an idea. So, what is the product and how effective is it? Only one way to find out. Research.

Who is Gelesis?

Gelesis is the company that developed the obesity capsule. The company was founded in Boston Massachusetts in2006 with the sole purpose being to develop medical devices for the treatment of obesity and obesity related diseases.

This company specifically practices in the discipline of mechanobiology, a new scientific practice that combines biology and engineering. This practice aims to use physics to alter the properties of cells, to alter changes physiology, development, and disease.

What is Their Product?

Their product, the Gelesis100 according to their website “utilizes hydrogel platform technology to trigger multiple parts of the GI system related to satiety, glycemic control, gut permeability and inflammation.” To put it in layman’s terms, they use a capsule that is filled with organic materials that make you feel full.

How Does it Work?

This was best explained by the author of a local Boston article a few years back. He stated, “Once the hydrogel particles are released and filling up with liquid, they put pressure on the walls of the stomach, sending a signal to the brain that says the person is full, and it’s time to stop eating. “

From there, “The particles mix with the food, which keeps the food in the stomach longer. Eventually, stomach acids then shrink the particles during digestion, so they release the water, and they can travel with the food to the small intestine. The hydrogels then proceed to the large intestine, release their water, and disintegrate.”

Unlike a regular pill that releases a drug into your bloodstream, what is inside the gastric bypass pill is strictly moving through the digestive system.

Is it Safe?

The worst that has been experienced by the patients who had reported symptoms at the clinical trial was constipation or a stomach ache. Only one person in the first clinical trial reported diarrhea. According to the FDA, it is considered a NRD or “Nonsignificant Risk Device.” It should be noted, however, are only the results of the first clinical trial for the gastric bypass pill that has been reported.

Does it Work?

The Chief Medical Officer of Gelesis reported that 6 out of 10 adults on the gastric bypass pill achieved 5% or more weight loss within six months. 20% of adults on the gastric bypass pill reached 10% or more weight loss.

Compared to the standard weight loss for patients that undergo gastric bypass surgery ( 65% of weight loss for over 80%of patients) these results aren’t going to cure severe obesity problems immediately.

Since there has only been one study done and it has been through a short period of time, there is no long-term data. Meaning we just don’t know. And because we don’t know, it isn’t out on the market quite yet.

 

Conclusion

            They have been working on other products and their strongest claim to fame isn’t how fast the weight loss is, but how noninvasive and safe the procedure is, and to that end they have succeeded. While they may not have the cure for obesity in this model they are a few steps closer than others have been before.

Maybe one day we could live in a world where obesity is solved through a gastric bypass pill instead of gastric bypass surgery, but until then the company will continue to do their best while people struggling with severe obesity will have to rely on gastric bypass surgery to fix it.

Keywords: Gastric Bypass