Battling the bulge with a balloon pill? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Battling the bulge with a balloon pill?

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LONDON -

The makers of a new pill say it canhelp overweight and obese patients lose up to 20 pounds in three months. Thepatient swallows a capsule with a balloon inside and gastric surgeons inflateit to make someone feel full so they eat less.

"This balloon will act to educatethem about portion size and retrain their brain and their mindset alittle," said Dr. Sally Norton, a gastric surgeon.

Helene Fleckney lost 19 pounds duringthe clinical trial in England.

"I'm delighted with that,"she said. "It's made me feel so much better in myself."

More than 60 percent of adults inEngland are overweight or obese. Health experts warn the balloon is not a magicpill.

"When they take the balloons out,what happens is the stomach hasn't shrunk. So you're left with the same sizestomach or possibly even bigger than there was beforehand," said Tim Bean,a health and well-being expert.

Manufacturers say the balloon isdesigned as a jump-start to a weight loss program. In the first few days,patients may experience nausea and vomiting.

The balloon is also not a permanentfix. Months after treatment, it is deflated and removed.

Doctors say people may need up tothree balloons over months of treatment. A two-balloon pill procedure costsabout $5,000. The pill is still being tested in the U.S.

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