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Last updated: Sep 02, 2021
4 min read

Plenity side effects: what they are and how to manage them

yael coopermangina-allegretti

Medically Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD

Written by Gina Allegretti, MD

Disclaimer

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

If you’re taking Plenity, you’ve added a great tool to help in your weight loss journey. 

Of course, every treatment has potential side effects. Sometimes people even quit treatment because of side effects. But that doesn’t have to be the case with Plenity.

Overall, Plenity is relatively well-tolerated by most people who use the weight loss pill. A 2019 clinical trial showed that when people who took Plenity experienced side effects, they were usually mild or moderate (Greenway 2019). 

This article will detail which side effects might come up with Plenity, any important safety information, and what you can do to prevent symptoms.

Meet Plenity—an FDA-cleared weight management tool

Plenity is a prescription-only therapy that helps you manage your weight while still enjoying your meals. Find out if it’s right for you.

Learn more

What are the side effects of Plenity?

The most common side effects of Plenity include digestive problems like bloating, gas, nausea, constipation, and stomach pain. As we mentioned, these are typically mild and usually resolve after the first two weeks of use (Pass, 2021). 

Stomach ache and bloating

About 5–10% of people who take Plenity report stomach aches or feeling bloated. Make sure that you’re drinking enough water each time you take the pills (16 ounces of water, or about two glasses).

Nausea

Around 5% of people who use Plenity experience nausea when they begin treatment. Nausea is typically mild, but in the rare instances of severe nausea or vomiting, stopping Plenity can help. If you have nausea that’s difficult to manage at home, speak to a healthcare provider to see what changes you can make to feel better. 

Diarrhea and constipation

Plenity can cause changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea (more frequent or more watery bowel movements) and constipation (more firm or less frequent bowel movements). Like Plenity’s other side effects, these side effects are manageable and usually go away within the first few weeks of use (Pass, 2021).  

What should I do if I have side effects? 

Even when taken as directed, you still may experience side effects taking Plenity. It’s a good idea to keep track of when symptoms occur and what foods you eat as certain types can contribute to gas or bloating.

For example, you may have noticed that you burp or pass gas more often when you drink soda. This happens because drinks that are carbonated, contain caffeine, or use artificial sweeteners (like diet soda) increase gas, belching, and bloating. They can even cause diarrhea. Certain foods, such as beans or dairy, can also make flatulence and bloating worse. 

If you’re tracking your meals (we highly recommend it!), you can check out your food journal to see if symptoms seem to happen when you ingest certain foods or drinks. If that’s the case, then consider swapping it out for something else and see if you feel better.

Pace yourself during meals

That full feeling you get after a big meal takes a moment to register. When we eat too quickly, it’s easy to blow right past our natural “full point,” making it easy to overeat. This leaves us feeling stuffed and bloated later on.

Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly to give your brain a chance to catch up. This prevents overeating and potentially any unwanted abdominal pain. 

Avoid overeating

Eating huge meals, eating too many times a day, or having a large meal late at night can also lead to an upset stomach, nausea, or bloating (Wilkinson 2019). Try smaller portions when you begin weight loss medications like Plenity, and avoid eating right before you go to sleep. 

Stay hydrated

It can be hard to drink enough water in general, but it’s especially important when taking Plenity. How it works is by taking up extra space in your stomach, which makes you feel more full, so water is crucial.

Staying well-hydrated, eating high fiber foods like fruit and green, leafy vegetables, and exercising will help keep your gut healthy and bowel movements regular (Hsieh, 2005). Taking the time to move around more––even if it’s just getting up to walk around the house––can help you avoid constipation.  

While Plenity is typically well-tolerated by most people, adverse events do occur. You can manage and even prevent many of these symptoms with simple changes in diet or lifestyle. If you experience severe stomach pain, constipation, or diarrhea, or if your symptoms don’t go away, speak to a healthcare professional. 

References

  1. Greenway, F. L., Aronne, L. J., Raben, A., Astrup, A., Apovian, C. M., Hill, J. O., et al. (2019). A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Gelesis100: A Novel Nonsystemic Oral Hydrogel for Weight Loss. Obesity, 27(2), 205–216. doi: 10.1002/oby.22347 Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30421844/
  2. Hsieh, C. (2005). Treatment of constipation in older adults. American family physician, 72(11), 2277–2284. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16342852/
  3. Pass, A., Bialonczyk, D., Chiquette, E., & Goldman, J. D. (2021). Oral Superabsorbent Hydrogel (Plenity) for Weight Management. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 55(9), 1146–1152. doi: 10.1177/1060028020983046. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33348994/
  4. Quigley, E. M., Hasler, W. L., & Parkman, H. P. (2001). AGA technical review on nausea and vomiting. Gastroenterology, 120(1), 263–286. doi: 10.1053/gast.2001.20516. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11208736/
  5. Riddle, M. S., DuPont, H. L., & Connor, B. A. (2016). ACG Clinical Guideline: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention of Acute Diarrheal Infections in Adults. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 111(5), 602–622. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2016.126. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27068718/

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2018, November).  De novo Classification Request for Plenity. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cdrh_docs/reviews/DEN180060.pdf
  6. Wilkinson, J. M., Cozine, E. W., & Loftus, C. G. (2019). Gas, Bloating, and Belching: Approach to Evaluation and Management. American Family Physician, 99(5), 301–309. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30811160/