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Am Fam Physician. 2022;105(3):309-310

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Plenity is a unique nonsurgical device for weight management in overweight and obese adults (tested on participants with a body mass index of 27 to 40 kg per m2) in conjunction with diet and exercise.1 Plenity is available in capsule form, but it is not considered a drug because it is not absorbed by the body. Rather, the hydro-gel capsule releases gel particles containing cellulose and citric acid that absorb water in the stomach and small intestine, expanding significantly in size. This action works to create increased bulk, thus signaling satiety. The particles break down in the colon and are excreted in the stool without being absorbed. For these reasons, Plenity is considered a medical device rather than a drug, leading to a different threshold for approval. It is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

DeviceDosageDose formCost of full course*
Cellulose and citric acid (Plenity)Three capsules taken orally twice daily before lunch and dinnerHydrogel capsules$98 per month
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STEPS new drug reviews cover Safety, Tolerability, Effectiveness, Price, and Simplicity. Each independent review is provided by authors who have no financial association with the drug manufacturer.

This series is coordinated by Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, assistant medical editor.

A collection of STEPS published in AFP is available at

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