Postapproval data confirm risks with intragastric balloons


The results of two postapproval studies confirm the potential risk of hyperinflation and acute pancreatitis with the Orbera and ReShape liquid-filled intragastric balloon systems used to treat obesity.

The Orbera Intragastric Balloon System is manufactured by Apollo Endosurgery. The ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System was previously manufactured by ReShape Medical but was acquired by Apollo Endosurgery in December 2018.

In the Orbera postapproval study, 6 of 258 patients (2.3%) experienced balloon hyperinflation, the Food and Drug Administration said today in a letter to health care providers. There were no hyperinflation events detected in the ReShape postapproval study.

Acute pancreatitis was reported in 2 of 159 patients (1.3%) in the ReShape study, with no cases of acute pancreatitis reported in the Orbera study.

No balloon hyperinflation or acute pancreatitis events were reported in the studies the companies submitted to the FDA to gain approval, the agency said.

No deaths were reported in the postapproval studies, though the agency notes that the studies were not powered to detect. However, since Orbera and ReShape were approved in 2015, the FDA has learned of 18 deaths worldwide, including 8 patients in the United States (5 with Orbera and 3 with ReShape).

The FDA issued previous letters to health care providers concerning issues with these devices in June 2018, August 2017, and February 2017.

As of Jan. 1, 2019, Apollo Endosurgery stopped selling the ReShape Balloon. The Orbera balloon remains available.

“The FDA wants to ensure healthcare professionals are aware of the rates of these potential complications observed in the post-approval studies so they can discuss the risks and benefits of weight loss treatments with patients and monitor patients during treatment,” Benjamin Fisher, PhD, director of the Reproductive, Gastro-Renal, Urological, General Hospital Device, and Human Factors Office at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.

“While these devices remain an appropriate treatment option for some patients with obesity, patients should always discuss with their doctors which treatment option is best for them,” said Dr. Fisher.

A version of this article originally appeared on Medscape.com.

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