Scientists are working on a new pill that can help dieters lose weight and make tummy tucks unnecessary.
Tesofensine, which alters the brain chemicals controlling appetite and makes a patient feel full, is seen as a possible alternative to gastric banding, surgery or stomach stapling in the fight against obesity.
The drug that could hit the market in three years time has some side effects that include diarrhea, constipation, insomnia and an increased heart rate, which could cause problems for the obese, who are already at risk of cardiac disease.
Professor Arne Astrup, the International Association for the Study of Obesity president, said: "You could easily come up to 20 per cent weight loss which could offer an alternative to the surgical treatment of obesity which has become the only real cure or effective treatment that can provide a weight loss of that size."
In tests, those who took Tesofensine lost up to one and half pounds in just six months. But only future trials will determine whether the side effects outweigh the benefits.
Originally developed to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, tesofensine is a man-made compound which alters levels of three brain chemicals involved in appetite control— serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.