Medication needs of obesity surgery patients

Patients who have undergone obesity surgery need to ensure that they are absorbing the necessary medications and nutrients, a new study has found.

Published in the October 1st edition of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, the study reveals that special considerations need to be implemented in patients who have undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

The procedure is one of the most common forms of obesity surgery but is commonly associated with absorption problems as the technique restricts the amount of food passing through the stomach, thereby impairing the ability of the small intestines to absorb necessary nutrients.

According to the authors, Dr April Miller and Dr Kelly Smith of the University of Kentucky, the smaller stomach size and decreased absorption ability of the small intestines can mean that prescribed medications do not work as intended.

In particular, they warn that delayed-release medications may not work effectively because of the shortened small intestine, meaning that a liquid medication with immediate-release formulations may be more appropriate.

In addition, medications administered via a skin patch, by injection or nasal spray or as a suppository could be beneficial.

"It's important for physicians and pharmacists to be aware of these patients' special needs in order to make the best choices about appropriate medications," said Dr Smith.

Dr Miller advised that all patients should take a daily multivitamin and calcium supplement after obesity surgery, preferably in a powder or liquid form to aid absorption.

"Monthly B12 injections and early bone density testing should also be considered," she added.

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Medication needs of obesity surgery patients
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