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Plenity weight loss pill
Drug reviews: use, side effects, effectiveness,  Pharmacy insights

Plenity a New Weight Loss Pill

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, 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:

  • fullness,
  • bloating,
  • flatulence,
  • and/or abdominal pain

Plenity UK?

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 which work in a similar way when consumed. All based on plant materials, which add additional fiber in the diet. When ingested, fiber expands in the stomach and helps to make users feel fuller.

Glucomannan is classified as dietary fibre, 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 fibre, 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 treatment of type 2 diabetes since 2009. Saxenda is 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 upset stomach. Read more about Orlistat in my separate post: Orlistat review: Can you achieve a weight loss?

Plenity is not a ‘miracle solution’. Although clinical trials involving Plenty showed positive results of weight reduction, one needs to remember that diet and exercise was part of the clinical trial. Since limited licensed options are available for weight loss, the introduction of Plenity to the UK is most welcome and I can’t wait to write more about this device, once this happens.

Healthy lifestyle and exercise are the most important factors in weight loss and should always be considered as the first choice by anyone wanting to lose weight.

Plenity weight loss pill: FAQ

Is Plenity available in UK?

At the moment Plenity is not available in the UK. It is expected that Plenity will be launched in US in early months of 2020.

Is Plenity a prescription item?

In US Plenity is marketed as medical device. In the UK medicinal devices do not require prescription. One would expect Plenity to be available without prescription once it is launched in the UK.

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  1. Plenity (ND). Efficacy. Available at: Accessed on 28/05/2019.
  2. Generic Name: Superabsorbent hydrogel particles in capsules, Brand Name: Plenity (Superabsorbent Hydrogel Particles in Capsules): Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Warning ( Accessed on 27/05/2019.

I am a community pharmacist working in UK. I blog about drugs, health and pharmacy.


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