doctors operating on abdomen

Can You take Weight Loss Medication if You had Bariatric Surgery in the Past 18 Months?

Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure that aims to aid individuals in achieving substantial weight loss. This procedure is typically recommended for individuals who suffer from obesity and related health complications and have not experienced success in losing weight through traditional means like diet and exercise. While weight loss drugs are available both over-the-counter and through prescription, it is important to exercise caution when considering their use following bariatric surgery. Maintaining a healthy weight post-surgery is crucial, and any decisions regarding the use of weight loss drugs should be made in consultation with a physician.

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What is Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure designed to help severely overweight or obese individuals lose weight. This surgery comes in different types, such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and duodenal switch, which all work in different ways to promote weight loss. These procedures reduce the amount of food a person can consume and/or limit the absorption of calories from food. Bariatric surgery has been proven effective in promoting significant weight loss, with patients losing 30-50% of their total body weight within the first 12 months. Some even continue to lose weight over the long term. Apart from weight loss, bariatric surgery can also improve other health conditions associated with obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

person holding loose pants, showing losed weight

Weight Loss Medication

Weight loss medications can be a helpful addition to bariatric surgery for people who want to achieve better results in their weight loss journey. There are two main categories of weight loss medications: prescription medications and over-the-counter supplements.

Prescription medications are prescribed by healthcare professionals and often contain an appetite suppressant, fat blocker, or carb blocker. Appetite suppressants decrease the feeling of hunger, fat blockers prevent fat from being absorbed, and carb blockers prevent the absorption of carbohydrates.

Over-the-counter supplements come in various forms like capsules, tablets, liquids, powders, and teas. These supplements are usually made from natural ingredients such as green tea extract, caffeine, guarana, hoodia, or garcinia cambogia. They work by suppressing appetite and reducing cravings for sweets and snacks.

doctor explaning treatment to patient

Weight loss medications suppress appetite, increase metabolism, and decrease fat absorption. The most common side effects include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, and headaches. In some cases, they can also increase blood pressure and cause heart palpitations and insomnia.

Combining Bariatric Surgery and Weight Loss Medication

When it comes to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, bariatric surgery is often considered a last resort for those unable to achieve results through diet and exercise alone. However, some patients may also benefit from taking additional weight loss medications in addition to their surgery.

When deciding whether or not to combine bariatric surgery and weight loss medication, there are several factors to consider. Some of the most important are your current health, your medical history, and any potential risks associated with combining the two treatments. It is important to discuss the pros and cons of this decision with your doctor in order to make an informed decision.

The potential benefits of combining bariatric surgery and weight loss medication are that it may help accelerate the weight loss process and help you maintain a healthy weight over time.

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Additionally, taking weight loss medication after bariatric surgery may help reduce appetite and improve overall metabolic health.

On the other hand, there are also potential risks associated with combining these two treatments. These include an increased risk of complications from bariatric surgery and an increased risk of side effects from weight loss medications. It is also important to note that taking certain weight loss medications can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions or who take certain medications. For this reason, it is important to consult with your doctor before taking any weight loss medication.

Timing of Weight Loss Medication After Bariatric Surgery

The timing of when to start taking weight loss medication after bariatric surgery is an important consideration. Generally, it is recommended that patients wait until the time of weight plateau after their surgery before starting any weight loss medication. This allows time for the patient’s body to adjust to the changes made by the surgery and optimize weight loss. If a patient takes weight loss medication too soon after the surgery, it can be ineffective or even dangerous.

It can also mask the success of the bariatric procedure, making it difficult to measure its effects.

It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of starting weight loss medication soon after bariatric surgery with a healthcare provider. The provider can assess each patient and advise whether it is safe to start medication sooner or if waiting is a better option. It is important to remember that weight loss medications should only be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise habits and not as a replacement for these lifestyle changes. Weight loss medications can be effective in helping people reach their weight loss goals, but it is essential to use them responsibly.

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Taking weight loss medications after bariatric surgery can be a safe and effective way to help you reach your weight loss goals. However, it is important to understand the risks associated with taking medication and the timeline of when it should be taken in relation to the surgery. It is best to speak with a doctor to ensure that taking medication is the right decision for you. By weighing the risks and benefits of taking weight loss medication following bariatric surgery, you can make an informed decision about how to best manage your health and weight loss journey.

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