Adding drugs to gastric balloons increases weight loss



– In a multicenter study involving four academic medical centers, the addition of weight loss drugs to intragastric balloons resulted in better weight loss 12 months after balloon placement.

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In a video interview at the annual Digestive Disease Week, study investigator Reem Sharaiha, MD, explained that one of the drawbacks of intragastric balloons is that, although they produce weight loss for the 6 or 12 months that they are in place, patients tend to regain that weight after they are removed. The study, involving 111 patients, was designed to determine whether the addition of weight loss drugs could mitigate this effect and improve weight loss, said Dr. Sharaiha of Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York.

Adding drugs such as metformin or weight loss drugs tailored to patients’ particular weight issues (cravings, anxiety, or fast gastric emptying) at the 3- or 6-month mark while the intragastric balloon was in place helped patients continue losing weight after balloon removal. At 12 months, the percentage of total body weight lost was significantly greater in the intragastric balloon group with concurrent pharmacotherapy (21.4% vs. 13.1%).

SOURCE: Shah SL et al. DDW 2019, Abstract 1105.

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