Nutrition Diva listener John recently asked me to weigh in on a new FDA approved weight loss drug called Gelesis100. The drug is not yet available to the public, but it will probably be coming onto the market very soon as a prescription-only drug under the brand name Plenity. I bet it’ll be hard to miss it when it does become available; there will probably be a huge advertising and marketing push.
But is this new drug going to be the one that turns the tide against obesity?
Previous pharmaceutical approaches to weight loss have all had major drawbacks. Stimulants like phentermine are effective in suppressing appetite, for example. But they can be habit-forming, not to mention that the pesky side effect of occasionally stopping your heart. Other drugs such as orlistat (marketed as Alli and Xenical) are somewhat effective in blocking the absorption of fat and calories from foods. Unfortunately, they also block the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, not to mention having a rather embarrassing side effect requiring frequent underwear changes.
Plenity is designed to reduce food intake by making you feel like you’ve had more to eat than you actually have.
This new drug takes a different approach that avoids the worst of these side effects. It is designed to reduce food intake by making you feel like you’ve had more to eat than you actually have.
The drug is made from two compounds that occur naturally in foods—cellulose and citric acid. You…