medicationsMany individuals who struggle with obesity also suffer from co-morbid health conditions, including hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and even depression. If you have a health problem that is associated with your weight, and take medications to help manage your symptoms, you may be wondering how bariatric surgery could affect the way your medications act within your body.

While bariatric surgery will change the way in which your body handles some medications, the procedure will not in any way prevent you from both losing weight and treating your health conditions as needed. In fact, bariatric surgery may eliminate the need for treatment, as many co-morbid conditions reduce or disappear, post-op.

How Medications Could Be Affected

Depending on the type of procedure you undergo, bariatric surgery can make permanent changes to the way your body absorbs prescription and over-the-counter drugs. During the time immediately after surgery, your surgeon may recommend that you avoid taking large tablets or capsules, which may become stuck in your new stomach. However, there are many other forms in which to take your medications, including crushed pills, liquids, suspensions, chewables, sublingual (under the tongue) and injectable.

Adjustable gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy create very little change in the absorption of medications long-term. However, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and duodenal switch surgeries can create changes in the way your body takes in medication. This can lead to prescription increases to accommodate the loss in absorption, to make sure your body is getting enough of the treatments it requires.

What Can I Do?

As with any of the changes that occur with bariatric surgery, keeping aware of the way your body feels is crucial. For patients with depression, your emotional symptoms are your first clue that you may need an increased dose of medication to compensate for changes in absorption.

Keep in close contact with both your surgeon and primary care physician, who will monitor your post-surgical condition to make sure that all systems within your body are balanced and functioning well.

Finally, make a promise to yourself to keep all of your appointments. Create a calendar with pictures of anything that motivates you – fitness images, pictures of places you want to go – and write in all of your scheduled check ups. Commit to attending each and every one. Regular contact with your medical team means frequent updates on your health, making your overall wellness easier to track, both when things are going well and when you may need to change your approach to medications, diet, etc.

Millions of Americans take medications to help them manage their health conditions. If you are one of them, don’t let concern over medications be a factor in your decision to undergo bariatric surgery. In many cases, the co-morbid conditions that you are medicating may actually disappear after surgery, and in the meantime, there are a wide variety of methods for maintaining your health and medication regimen, post-op. Call our team at WeightWise with any questions you may have!


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