(NEW YORK) -- Imagine if you could lose 30 pounds just by swallowing a pill. Some Americans are doing it already -- in Tijuana. The pill, which is currently not available in the U.S., is called Obalon. It's an uninflated balloon inside a capsule that, once it's swallowed, is pumped with air to make the patient feel full.
Dr. Ariel Ortiz offers the pill in Mexico at the Obesity Control Center. "As soon they swallow it and we activate the balloon it's like, 'Doc, I was hungry and as soon as you inflated that thing -- it's -- I'm not hungry anymore,'" Ortiz said.
The stomach can take up to three weeks to get used to the balloon once it's inflated. Then, patients can pop another pill, but should only ingest up to three balloons over a four-month period.
Obalon, which can cost patients between $3,000 and $4,000 at the clinic in Mexico, is made in San Diego, but is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is going through trials right now.
Dr. Ortiz says the procedure is "very similar weight loss to gastric surgery, but instead of a year and a half we're obtaining that in three to four months."
Patients should be cautious about procedures not yet approved by the FDA.
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