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About a third of Australians are obese and some require surgery to help lose weight. However, surgery can change the way drugs work. U Australian receptorweight loss experts Dr Teresa Girolamo and Adelaide-based Rosemary Allin discuss how some medication doses may need to be changed after bariatric (weight loss) surgery.

There are about 100,000 of them in Australia weight loss operations carried out each year. Some operations make your stomach smaller so you eat less, while others make food less digestible.

“Just like food, your body won’t absorb the medication as well after surgery,” says Dr. Giralama. “If you take mood stabilizers or antidepressantsyou may need to take more to get the same effect.”

“After surgery, you also won’t be able to absorb slow-release medications. You may need to crush some pills or change them to liquid form to help with absorption. It’s also important to avoid medications that affect the stomach lining, such as ibuprofen and aspirin,” she says.

“After weight loss surgery, alcohol will be absorbed faster and eliminated from the body more slowly. It can affect driving,” says Dr Giralama.

“The birth control pill can be unreliable due to reduced absorption, so you should consider other methods of birth control.

“In addition, you will need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life.”

On a positive note, Dr. Giralama says you may need less medication blood pressurediabetes, pain or depression if you lose weight.

“A lot changes after weight loss surgery. Your doctor, pharmacist, and nutritionist can help you adjust to the changes,” she says.

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Additional information:
Teresa Girolamo and others. Bariatric Surgery and Medicine: From First Principles to Practice, Australian receptor (2022). DOI: 10.18773/austprescr.2022.053

Courtesy of NPS MedicineWise

Citation: Weight-loss surgery could change how drugs work (October 4, 2022) Retrieved October 4, 2022, from

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