On Tuesday, June 14th, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new, highly controversial weight loss device called AspireAssist, which functions by allowing the user to “pump and dump” about one-third of their stomach contents straight into the toilet. The device includes a tube that goes from the inside of the stomach, running to a port on the outside of the body. The pump itself can be attached to the outside port as needed to remove stomach contents.
Clinical trials indicate that the pump is considerably effective with weight loss: The average patient saw a loss of 46 pounds lost in the first year and 50 pounds in the following year. However, the good press gave no mention of their change in critical nutritional markers such as electrolyte, vitamin and mineral levels. These levels could be expected to be off kilter as a result of side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea over a sustained period of time. Either of these bodily functions, even in the short term, can cause dehydration, throwing an individual’s electrolyte balance off.
However, there may be an even more grave concern.
“The AspireAssist device should not be used on patients with eating disorders, and it is not intended to be used for short durations in those who are moderately overweight,” the FDA said in a statement.
In my estimation, the lack of judgment and foresight in this approval is irresponsible beyond reason. This is not a gray area. This is crossing the line from medical intervention and “assistance” into the territory of enabling disordered behavior and purging pathology.
Others have made mention that the process smacks of “assisted bulimia” as well…