medication absorption after bariatric surgery

How Medication Absorption Changes After Bariatric Surgery

Weight loss surgery is a serious procedure, changing many things about your body to help you look better and feel better. The changes you can see are largely physical, leading to substantial weight loss when combined with diet and exercise.


But in addition to the obvious changes, your body’s physiology changes as well, especially in regards to the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and medicines. Understanding the use of medications after bariatric surgery will be important.


Medications will work differently within the body after surgery and improper use could lead to further health problems.


Absorption After Bariatric Surgery


In general, bariatric surgery works by removing part of the stomach or reducing the stomach’s ability to hold food, thus decreasing appetite and reducing the ability to consume unhealthy foods. This change doesn’t stop with food, however; absorption on the whole changes within the body.


After surgery, many patients may experience issues absorbing medication in a normal way, leading to potential problems when improper drugs are consumed orally. Decreased intestinal lengths can reduce overall absorption time, especially in medications that are extended release. When prescribed incorrectly, medications after bariatric surgery can cause overdose or ulceration.


The various forms of weight loss surgery can affect the absorption of medications after bariatric surgery differently. Patients who choose gastric sleeve or gastric band procedures are more likely to be able to take medications as normal, while those who opt for a gastric bypass, distal bypass, or duodenal switch procedure may experience complications.

Drugs to Avoid After Weight Loss Surgery


While specific circumstances will vary from patient to patient, most doctors issue blanket warnings for those who have undergone bypass procedures. In general, patients are warned against oral doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, salicylates, and bisphosphonates.


In lieu of these common medications, your doctor may provide topical alternatives that are not affected by the stomach’s changed state.


All sustained and extended release drugs should also be avoided; the mechanisms in these medications are designed for a standard stomach. Some medications, like cholesterol drugs and antidepressants can still be prescribed as normally, but should be taken under proper supervision after bariatric surgery.

Make Sure To Have Consultations With Your Physician 


Prior to taking any drugs, regardless of the reason, be sure to speak with your physician. This includes over the counter pain relievers, sleep aids, allergy medications, and fever suppressors. Unless you have been cleared to continue with normal dosages, do not take drugs of any kind.


Your doctor will be able to provide information specific to your physiology and operation regarding use of antibiotics and medications after bariatric surgery.


For more information on medications after bariatric surgery, weight loss surgery options, and the comprehensive weight loss program at Olde Del Mar Surgical, call us and we will be happy to help you.

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