Bariatric Surgery FAQ

What Pain Medication Can You Take After Gastric Bypass?

What Pain Medication Can You Take After Gastric Bypass? - Bariatric Fusion

pain medications for bariatric surgery

After bariatric surgery, various medications, including pain medications, may be prescribed to ensure your comfort during the recovery process.

While some patients may experience mild to moderate pain, others may face more severe discomfort. The pain medication prescribed by your physician plays a crucial role in facilitating a speedy recovery.

This article aims to shed light on pain medications and other drugs commonly prescribed after surgery. It will also provide cautionary advice regarding the use of specific medications that can hinder your recovery and compromise your post-surgical health.

What This Article Covers:

A Guide to Pain Medication Post-Bariatric Surgery

Pain Medications after Bariatric Surgery

Restrictive and malabsorptive bariatric procedures can impact the absorption of certain medications. Some drugs rely on an acidic stomach environment for proper dissolution, which is significantly reduced after bariatric surgery. It is crucial to follow the guidance of your healthcare provider when taking medications.

After gastric bypass surgery, pain can be effectively managed using non-opioid and/or opioid pain medications. Your physician will prescribe these medications during the initial days following your bariatric surgery.

Early pain control is essential for a smooth recovery. Typically, stronger pain medications are initially administered and then gradually transitioned to other alternatives.

Failing to effectively manage pain in the early post-operative period can make it challenging to control pain later on, potentially leading to delayed recovery.

Non-Opioid Pain Medication

After bariatric surgery, one of the commonly prescribed non-opioid pain medications is Acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol.

It's important to note that taking Acetaminophen in large doses can lead to liver damage.

Non-opioid medications are generally preferred for managing mild to moderate pain.

Opioid Pain Medication

Opioid medication should be used sparingly and reserved for cases of severe pain that cannot be adequately managed with non-opioid pain medication. It is crucial to exercise caution when using opioids due to their potential side effects and addictive nature.

When using opioids, it is important to adhere to the principle of using the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible.

Commonly prescribed opioids include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone

Combinations between non-opioids and opioids include:

  • Codeine with Acetaminophen
  • Oxycodone with Acetaminophen

Side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Large doses may abnormally effect breathing
  • Long term use can lead to addiction

Pain Medications to Avoid after Gastric Bypass Surgery

Avoid all pain medication that is considered a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug until your physician instructs you otherwise.

NSAIDs include:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

  • Naproxen (Aleve)

  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)

  • Asprin (Bayer)

NSAIDs have been associated with an increased risk of stomach ulcers, perforations, and gastrointestinal tract leaks. If it is not possible to avoid NSAIDs, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider. They may consider prescribing Proton Pump Inhibitors to reduce stomach acid.

Diagnosing and treating stomach ulcers in the post-operative period can be more challenging.

When you should contact your physician:

  • If you experience any abnormal bleeding or vomiting with blood in it
  • If you experience unacceptable side effects
  • If you experience severe pain, despite using adequate pain medication

What Other Medications Will I be Prescribed After Bariatric Surgery?

After undergoing a bariatric procedure, it is common to resume medications for pre-existing chronic medical conditions. However, the dosages of these medications may need to be adjusted due to the changes in absorption caused by weight loss surgery. Your prescriber will determine the appropriate dosage for you.

In the immediate post-operative period, it is recommended to use crushed or liquid-rapid release medications instead of extended-release medications to ensure optimal absorption. Your bariatric team may suggest using crushed pills or opening capsules if suitable.

It's important to note that some of the medications prescribed after surgery may be intended for long-term use.

Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI)

As a preventive measure, your healthcare provider may prescribe antacid medication, specifically a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). In some cases, continued use of PPIs may be recommended for up to a year after weight loss surgery, especially for individuals with a history of ulcers.

Omeprazole (Prilosec) is an example of a PPI that can help reduce the acid content in your stomach and small intestine, thus assisting in the prevention of stomach ulcers. Given the potential risk of ulcers in patients who have undergone bariatric surgery, PPIs play a crucial role in maintaining gastrointestinal health.

Bile Acid

A bile acid, called Ursodiol, will be prescribed for prevention of gallbladder issues. This medication will prevent the formation of gallstones. Gallstones can be an unfortunate side effect from significant weight loss after bariatric surgery.

Birth Control

Weight loss surgery has been demonstrated to support fertility in individuals. As a precautionary measure, it is strongly advised that women use effective birth control methods for up to 2 years after bariatric surgery.

It's important to note that there are significant risks of nutrient deficiencies for both the mother and the child. Complications during early pregnancy following bariatric surgery can lead to preterm birth, small for gestational age infants, and growth restrictions. Prioritizing proper nutrition and regular prenatal care is crucial to mitigate these risks and ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

What Medications to Purchase Before Bariatric Surgery?

bariatric multivitamins

Bariatric-specific multivitamins are essential for lifelong supplementation after undergoing bariatric surgery. In some cases, your healthcare provider may even recommend starting them before the surgery at a lower dosage to support healthy vitamin and mineral levels.*

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common after any bariatric procedure, which is why a bariatric-specific multivitamin is crucial for nutritional support. Initially, a chewable multivitamin is often recommended for better healing, tolerance, and absorption following surgery.*

Bariatric-specific multivitamins are designed to meet the nutrient requirements outlined by the ASMBS guidelines for bariatric patients. These guidelines consider the restricted absorption and malabsorption after weight loss surgery and provide specific recommendations for vitamins and minerals.

Key nutrients that will be emphasized include Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Iron. Other micronutrients such as Zinc, Copper, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Thiamin, and Vitamin A are also important.

Deficiencies in these micronutrients can lead to various symptoms like fatigue, hair loss, irritability, and anemia. If you experience hair loss, it is important to address it by ensuring the following:

- Consistent intake of a bariatric-specific multivitamin
- Meeting daily protein goals (minimum of 60g-80g protein/day, as advised by your dietitian)
- Adequate daily water intake (48-64oz)
- Consumption of a variety of whole foods
- Undergoing blood work to identify any vitamin or mineral deficiencies contributing to hair loss

If all these factors have been addressed and hair loss persists, you may consider additional supplements to support healthy hair. However, it is crucial to prioritize the mentioned measures first.*

Your post-operative diet should also be rich in protein, macronutrients, and micronutrients. Working with a registered dietitian can provide valuable assistance in developing a suitable post-operative diet plan.

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Early mobilization post-surgery is important in accelerating the road to recovery.

When medically feasible and recommended by your practitioner, getting out of bed and doing light exercise can allow you to focus less on pain and improve mood.

Diet after surgery should be a healthy and balanced, including protein at each meal. If you are having a hard time reaching your daily protein goals, you may want to consider a protein supplement or high protein meal replacement.

A suitable diet after bariatric surgery should be a discussion between you and a registered dietitian.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your bariatric surgeon or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.

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