Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

June 5, 2001 -- The FDA on Tuesday approved a band that can be implanted around the stomach and tightened to help severely obese people lose weight.

Called the Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding System, the device is made by California firm BioEnterics System.

It's placed through a small surgical opening and fitted around the upper stomach. Then it is inflated with saline and can be tightened or loosened, creating a small stomach pouch to limit food consumption and create an earlier feeling of fullness, the agency said.

The FDA said the Lap-Band is intended only for severely obese people, those at least 100 lbs overweight or twice their ideal body weight and who have failed to lose weight by diet, exercise, and other programs.

Severe obesity can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, and diabetes.

The agency said that Lap-Band recipients still need to diet and exercise to maintain their weight loss.

The band is intended to remain in place permanently but can be removed if necessary.

The only other surgical treatments for obesity have been more invasive. These procedures generally require a large abdominal incision and physical reshaping of the stomach, such as cutting, stapling, or rerouting with a gastric bypass.

In clinical trials, the Lap-Band was implanted in 299 patients at eight medical centers. The patients were required to follow a severely restricted diet after the device was implanted and to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

Most patients steadily lost weight during the three-year study, averaging 36% of their excess weight. Two percent of the patients gained weight and 5% remained the same.

About a quarter of the patients had the band removed because of side effects or insufficient loss of weight. Some 89% experienced at least some side effects, which included nausea and vomiting, heartburn, abdominal pain, and band slippage.

Earlier in the campaign to win FDA approval for their band devices, company representatives had suggested some of the side effects could have been due to varied amounts of physician training and experience with the device, as well as the way some of the patients had been selected to participate in the clinical trials.

WebMD Health News

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...