‘Medical bulimia’: Doctors concerned about stomach-draining device for obesity

‘Medical bulimia’: Doctors concerned about stomach-draining device for obesity

A weight-loss device described as “medical bulimia” that drains undigested food from the stomach at the press of a button is among an explosion of new treatments for obesity available in Australia.

As concern continues to grow about obesity, some doctors are alarmed that some treatments in the lucrative market aren’t being adequately researched or followed up.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved AspireAssist system connects a tube inserted into the stomach to an outside port on the skin of the belly, which is drained into an external device.

Its American manufacturer promises about 30 per cent of food is removed before calories are absorbed into the body when used 20 minutes after a meal.

“I just think it’s medical bulimia,” leading gastroenterologist Matthew Remedios said. “You have to wonder what we’re doing. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong but, as a community, we have finite resources and we are spending it on devices like this.”

A TGA spokeswoman confirmed the device was on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods and approved for supply in Australia.

She said patients using it for “gastric drainage” did so under the treatment of a health professional.

Dr Remedios, who said more than half of his patients at Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital were overweight or obese, agreed with other experts that there was an increasing need for medical interventions in patients with a Body Mass Index above 50.

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Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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