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How Bariatric Surgery Affects Absorption of Medication

By Fernando Garcia on June 24, 2017

Bottles of prescription dugsBariatric surgery doesn't just mean weight loss. Bariatric surgery is all about changing your life. Patients who undergo weight loss surgery change their diets to help promote weight loss and to keep the weight off. These patients also stay active, alter their eating habits with regard to frequency and portion size, and also try to eliminate bad habits to promote better living in the long run.

It should come as no surprise that changing your digestive tract can potentially affect the way that your body absorbs medicines and medications. The team at Tijuana Bariatrics would like to consider these matters below.

The Type of Surgery Affects Medication Absorption

There are two weight loss mechanisms that are at work in bariatric surgery procedures:

  • Restrictive Weight Loss – Restrictive weight loss means reducing the stomach size in order to limit the amount of calories that be consumed in a single sitting.

  • Malabsorptive Weight Loss – Malabsorptive weight loss means that changes are made to the digestive tract that will limit the amount of calories that are absorbed by the body.

People who undergo restrictive weight loss surgeries (e.g., gastric sleeve, gastric banding) will not have any issues with medication absorption. People who undergo weight loss procedures with a malabsorptive element (e.g., gastric byapss, duodenal switch) will experience problems with medication absorption simply given the nature of their surgery.

Factors That Affect Medication Absorption

For patients who undergo malabsorptive surgery, there are two factors play a role in poor medication absorption.

  • Solubility – Solubility simply refers to the ability for a solution to dissolve. Tablets or pills will often require time to dissolve in a person's system, which may be a problem for people who've undergone gastric bypass surgery.

  • Surface Area – Sin this context, surface area refers to the amount of the digestive tract in which a drug can be dissolved. Since part of the small intestine is skipped as part of the surgery, there is less surface area for absorption.

Ways to Prevent Problems with Medication Absorption

Whenever possible, patients should consider liquid forms of medications rather than pill or tablet forms of medications. Liquids will be more rapidly absorbed by the body. Pills and tablets, by contrast, require time to disintegrate and be absorbed.

Be sure to discuss all of your medication options with your doctor when being prescribed a medication. Knowing your situation, your doctor can consider more ideal medications that would best address your needs.

Discussing Other Changes Related to Bariatric Surgery

There are many other changes to your lifestyle that bariatric surgery patients need to consider. During the consultation process, we will be able to go into more detail about life after bariatric surgery. By considering all of these changes, patients are better able to understand what is in store for them moving forward. This can often lead to more realistic expectations about surgery and better patient satisfaction in the long run.

Contact Tijuana Bariatrics

For more information about bariatric surgery and how it can help you lead a healthier lifestyle, be sure to contact our weight loss surgery center today. The team at Tijuana Bariatrics is here to help you lose weight and be healthier for years and years down the road.

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Dr. Garcia is awesome. I chose bariatrics vertical sleeve surgery. I've lost 85 lbs. since January 2017. No complications... I regret not doing this years ago. Debbie M.

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