One of the greatest advantages of bariatric surgery is that the resulting weight loss can improve, eliminate, or prevent obesity-related illnesses like high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. That means that if you currently take medication to treat these conditions, you may eventually be able to discontinue them. If not, or until that happens, your doctor may change your medications or the form in which you take them after weight loss surgery.
After gastric band surgery, your medications will need to be in chewable or liquid form; however, capsules, which are gelatin shells filled with powder or beads of medicine, can be taken whole. Try washing capsules down with hot tea, as it will work quickly to dissolve the capsule and relieve any discomfort in your throat and keep it from getting stuck in your stomach pouch.
If any of your prescriptions are only available in pill form, you’ll need to crush them and wash them down with water. Alternatively, you can dissolve pills in water. Some medications, such as those that are time-released, should not be crushed. On the other hand, some very small pills, such as oral contraceptives, can be swallowed whole. Work with your doctor and pharmacist to find out how your medications can be taken and which are available in alternate forms.
Your doctor will most likely advise you to take multivitamins and a calcium supplement after surgery. Calcium carbonate antacids like Tums are chewable and have the added benefit of helping treat symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. Your doctor can recommend a chewable multivitamin that’s suitable for you.
Medications to Avoid
Generally, most medications can be taken after weight loss surgery, but there are a couple of exceptions. Most patients will be instructed to avoid NSAIDs, which stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These can cause ulcers and other stomach irritation. NSAIDs include some prescription medications and over-the-counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen. Most patients will also need to avoid diuretics, which are commonly known as “water pills,” as these can cause potassium deficiencies. Everyone is different, and some patients may be allowed to take these medications. Your doctor will tell you what’s right for you based on your unique physical condition.
No matter what medications you take, it’s very important to have every single one approved by your doctor for use after surgery. This includes all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and vitamin and mineral supplements.