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Popular Medications for Diabetes and Weight Loss May Cause Problems with Elective Surgeries or Severe Gastroparesis

Aug 09, 2023
ASA recently issued a warning that patients taking popular medications for diabetes and weight loss should stop taking them a week before elective surgery.

Plano, TX – The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recently issued a warning that patients taking popular medications for diabetes and weight loss should stop taking them a week before elective surgery. This is due to the risk that these medications can increase the chance of regurgitating food during an operation, even if they have fasted as directed. Vomiting under anesthesia can cause food and stomach acid to get into the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia and other problems after surgery.

The medications in question are those used to treat type 2 diabetes such as liraglutide (Victoza), exenatide (Byetta) and semaglutide (Ozempic), as well as those used for weight loss such as phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia) and lorcaserin (Belviq). These drugs are known to slow down gastric emptying, which means that food remains in the stomach longer than normal. This can lead to severe gastroparesis, a condition where the stomach takes too long to empty its contents into the small intestine. As a result, patients may experience nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, or abdominal pain after eating.

Dr. Nick Nicholson with the Nicholson Clinic for Weight Loss Surgery in Plano Texas commented on the importance of stopping these medications prior to elective surgery: “It is essential that patients stop taking these medications at least one week before surgery so that they can minimize any potential risks associated with gastroparesis or aspiration during the operation itself.”

For those looking for long-term solutions to obesity or diabetes management, Dr. Nicholson recommends considering weight loss surgery such as sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, or duodenal switch procedures. “These surgeries are safe and effective ways to help patients achieve their desired weight loss goals while also reducing their risk of diabetes, and their risk of diabetes related complications, such as heart disease, stroke or even early death.”

These weight loss surgery options help reduce hunger while restricting how much food you eat by reducing your stomach size or rerouting your digestive system so some calories aren’t absorbed by your body—all of which have been shown to be safe and effective in helping people achieve significant weight loss with minimal side effects. At Nicholson Clinic, we are dedicated to helping people reach their weight loss objectives while improving their overall health with proven bariatric procedures tailored specifically to each patient’s needs.

Dr. Nicholson adds: “Bariatric surgery is an excellent option for those looking for long-term weight loss solutions as it helps people lose more than just excess fat – it also entails a change to their lifestyle habits, so they don’t regain the weight they lost over time.”

If you are considering elective surgery and are currently taking any medication related to diabetes or weight loss, it is important that you discuss this with your doctor before proceeding with any procedure. For more information about bariatric surgery options available at the Nicholson Clinic in Plano Texas visit or call 972-494-3100 today!

About Nicholson Clinic
One of the most experienced weight loss surgeons in the country – Dr. Nick Nicholson – along with a full staff of surgeons, physician assistants, and other experienced clinicians, help patients reverse obesity with Sleeve Gastrectomy, Gastric Bypass, Duodenal Switch, Gastric Balloon, LAP-BAND removal and Revisions.