I must admit, the topic of this post is rather inaccurate. Plenity is a capsule (not a pill) that can be used to aid weight loss in adults who are obese or overweight in combination with diet and exercise (US licensing).
Plenity is not a new product. Previously known as Attiva (and Gelesis 100), Plenty was subject to clinical trial back in 2010. Recently, the FDA approved Plenity to help with weight management as detailed in the first paragraph.
Plenity Mechanism Of Action
In a nutshell, the Plenity capsule contains cellulose (plant material) and citric acid which together form a hydrogen ‘matrix’ when released in the stomach. Plenity (3 capsules) is taken with food and water before lunch and dinner. Created matrix swells by absorbing the water and mixing with the food.
As results individuals experience the effect of fullness which in turn helps to eat less food. The content of Plenity is not absorbed and passes through the digestive tract.
Plenity Weight-Loss Effectiveness
The main clinical study supporting the use of Plenity involved 436 obese or overweight patients who took either Plenity or a placebo pill (a dummy pill) over 24 weeks period alongside diet and exercise.
Individuals who took Plenity during this clinical trial lost on average 6% of their body weight as compared to individuals who took a placebo pill who lost 4% of their body weight.
This on average corresponds to about 10kg of weight loss.
Furthermore, 1 in 4 adults treated with Plenity achieved ≥10% weight loss of around 13.6kg (Plenity, ND).
Plenity Possible Side Effects
The most common side effects reported with Plenity during a clinical trial were:
- Abdominal pain
In the US, Plenity is not available to the public yet, an Early Experience Program is expected to be launched later this year. In the US, Plenity is classified as a device rather than a drug. Since Plenity does not contain any active drugs, one expects faster licensing approval in Europe and the UK on the basis of being a medicinal device.
The price for Plenity is not known yet, hopefully, Plenity will be much more affordable for patients (and NHS) as compared to some other drugs currently available on the market.
Plenity What Are The Alternatives?
Currently, in the UK there are no devices licensed for weight loss management such as Plenity. However, there are food supplements that work in a similar way when consumed. All are based on plant materials, which add additional fiber to the diet. When ingested, fiber expands in the stomach and helps to make users feel fuller.
Glucomannan is classified as dietary fiber, which comes from roots, or corm, of the konjac plant. There are a number of food supplements products containing glucomannan sold in the UK as appetite suppressants and supplements to aid weight loss.
Psyllium is another dietary fiber, which is made from a plant that belongs to the Plantaginaceae family. Psyllium is commonly used as a supplement to help with constipation. Psyllium is rich in mucilage, which increases in size when it comes in contact with water.
Weight Loss: What Are The Licensed Options?
At the moment, in the UK only two drugs are licensed for weight loss:
- Saxenda (drug name: Liraglutide): known also under the brand name of Victoza, which has been used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes since 2009. Saxenda is a prescription-only medication, which is injected by patients once daily. Saxenda suppresses appetite which contributes to weight loss.
- You can read more about Saxenda use, effectiveness, and high cost in my separate post: Saxenda review – effectiveness of NEW weight loss drug.
- Orlistat: available without prescription from pharmacies under the branded name Alli. Orlistat decreases the absorption of dietary fat. This drug is much much more affordable than Saxenda. Orlistat can be prescribed on the NHS. Orlistat popularity is limited however due to the possibility of common side effects such as an upset stomach. Read more about Orlistat in my separate post: Orlistat reviews: Can you achieve a weight loss?