We review the medical device Plenity in order to help you determine if it is the right fit for your weight loss journey
If you are new to the weight loss seen or have been on your own journey for some time now, you may have considered or researched adding a prescription weight loss medication to your plan. You may have seen plenty of medications to choose from, and Plenity is one of them! (Pun semi-intended)
In this post, we will review Plenity for its use in obesity and weight management in order to help you determine if it is the right fit for your weight loss journey.
Plenity is actually an FDA-Approved medical device and not a medication. It is approved for the use in weight loss for people struggling with obesity.
Plenity is a capsule containing superabsorbent hydrogel particles made of cellulose and citric acid. Cellulose is commonly found in plants and vegetables, and citric acid is found in fruits like oranges and lemons. The capsule releases these particles into the stomach when ingested with a meal. The particles then absorb water and take up space in the stomach so that you become full faster. The gel is then broken down in the colon, and the remaining particles are expelled in feces. For this reason, it is considered a medical device and not a traditional medication.
The gels are made up of naturally occurring compounds in fruit and vegetables, so they are safe and add no extra calories.
In a study published in 2018 known as the GLOW study, researchers were assessing the efficacy and safety of Gelesis100 (a superabsorbent hydrogel identical to Plenity) for treating overweight and obese patients. The participants were given 3 Gelesis1000 capsules a day with water for a 24-week period and were compared to a placebo group. Participants were also enrolled in a calorie-restricted diet (300kcal/day deficit) and instructed to exercise regularly.
After 24 weeks, around 59% of the participants noticed at least a 5% reduction in body weight, with some participants even seeing a 10% reduction. Though more people experienced gastrointestinal side effects, most were mild and resolved over time. All in all, Plenity does fall short when compared to other weight loss medications available on the market today. In fact, you may see the same results by just drinking about 500ml of water before meals. It is not something that is often prescribed by providers and is not prescribed by providers at Mochi Health.
Plenity is given as a dose of three capsules taken twice a day with water 20-30 minutes before lunch and dinner. The three capsules are contained in a single blister pack. The capsules should always be taken with water. After taking the three capsules, drink at least two additional glasses of water so that the capsules can release and absorb the water. Wait 20-30 minutes before you eat your meal.
The most common side effects of Plenity are bloating (11%), abdominal pain (5.4%), nausea (4.9%), diarrhea (12%), gas (8.5%), stuffy nose, sore throat (0.4%), or constipation (5.4%). However, these are usually mild to moderate in severity and go away over time.
You should not use Plenity if you have had a severe allergic reaction in the past to this medication. It is currently not recommended in pregnant patients, so let your provider know if you are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant.
Plenity can cost around $98 for a 4-week supply. If you purchase a 12-week supply at $249, you can save around 15%. There are no current coupons or payment assistance plans for Plenity. You should call your insurance provider to see if your insurance plan can cover Plenity.
If you would like to learn more about GLP-1 medications or want to see if you might be eligible for medication-assisted weight loss, check out Mochi Health, where board-certified obesity medicine physicians can offer expertise in this realm!
Dr. Constantine Joseph Pella, MD
Boston University Medical Center