FDA approves ReShape intragastric balloon device for weight loss



The first intragastric balloon–based device designed to help obese people lose weight has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, providing a treatment option that is less invasive than bariatric surgery and gastric banding.

The FDA approved the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System on July 28, for “weight reduction when used in conjunction with diet and exercise, in obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2-40 kg/m2 and one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions,” in adults who have not been able to lose weight with diet and exercise alone, according to the agency’s approval letter. Laparoscopic gastric banding is indicated for patients with a BMI of at least 40 kg/m2 (or at least 30 kg/m2 in people with one or more obesity-related comorbidities) and bariatric surgery is usually recommended for patients with a BMI of at least 40 kg/m2 (or at least 35 kg/m2 in people with at least one obesity-related comorbidity).

ReShape dual balloon system for the stomach. Courtesy ReShape Medical

ReShape dual balloon system for the stomach.

The ReShape device is made up of two attached balloons that are placed in the stomach through a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure, where they are filled with about 2 cups of saline and methylene blue dye, under mild sedation; the balloons are sealed with mineral oil and left in place for up to 6 months. If a balloon ruptures, the dye appears in the urine. When it is time to remove the balloons, they are deflated then removed using another endoscopic procedure.

The device was evaluated in a pivotal study at eight U.S. sites of over 300 mostly female obese patients whose mean age was about 44 years; their mean weight was about 209-213 pounds, and their mean BMI was about 35 kg/m2; 187 received the device and 139 had the endoscopy only. All participants were on a medically managed diet and exercise program. At 6 months, those in the device group had lost a mean of about 24% of their weight, vs. a mean of about 11% among controls, a statistically significant difference (P = .0041). Those who had lost weight at 6 months “maintained 60% of this weight loss through 48 weeks of follow-up,” according to the FDA.

After placement of the device, common adverse events were vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain, but most symptoms resolved within 30 days, according to the FDA. The development of gastric ulcerations is described as the “most worrisome” device-related risk, but “there were no unanticipated adverse device effects, no deaths, no intestinal obstructions, and no gastric perforations” in the study.

Among the 265 patients who received the device (those initially enrolled in the pivotal trial plus 78 who were in the control group and opted to receive the device after the first 6 months), 20 (7.5%) experienced severe adverse events; vomiting was the most common, in 4.5%. Serious events included gastric ulcers in two patients (0.8%) at 19 and at 97 days after the device was placed; in both cases, the device was removed. Almost 15% of those who received the device had to have it removed because of an adverse event. The rate of gastric ulcers after a minor change was made to the device was 10%; and the rate of balloon deflations without migration was 6%.

The FDA summary of the approval refers to the “marginal benefit of weight loss” among those in the treatment group, compared with controls, but adds that the decision to approve the device “is based in part on the limited options available to patients with mild to moderate obesity who have failed other means for conservative weight loss.” While the effectiveness of the device is better than what would be expected with diet and exercise or pharmacologic therapy,” it is “substantially less than what would be expected with gastric banding or other surgical interventions.” The list of contraindications includes previous gastrointestinal surgery “with sequelae,” such as an obstruction or adhesions; previous bariatric surgery; any GI inflammatory disease, severe coagulopathy; and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

“The company plans to make the ReShape procedure available to patients first in select markets, as physicians and allied health professionals are trained in the procedure and support program to optimize patient outcome,” according to the company’s statement announcing approval.

The ReShape device has been available in Europe since 2007.

Information posted by the FDA, including labeling for professionals, is available at

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