April 05, 2023

Medications and Supplements After Bariatric Surgery


Bariatric surgery is an important step for some people in addressing obesity. It can help put you on the path to better health and a more fulfilling life. However, to maximize the effectiveness of your procedure, you need to follow your doctor’s post-surgery advice, including the medications, vitamins, and supplements you should take.


Taking Medicines Following Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery affects how your body absorbs nutrients from the food you eat. The same is true for medication. Consequently, your doctor may have you take different drugs or different forms of them. 


Essential considerations for pain medication and other medicines after bariatric surgery include: 

  • You may have to take drugs you previously consumed as capsules or tablets in a different form. That’s so they don’t get stuck in your digestive system. Your doctor may prescribe liquid, chewable, sublingual (under the tongue), or injectable medications. They may also have you crush tablets for easier absorption.
  • Your doctor will probably have you avoid enteric-coated medications, as the coating can make them hard for your body to absorb. 
  • Your dosage of things like blood pressure medication may change after your surgery. 
  • Your doctor may switch you to different versions of medications if the current ones are associated with weight gain. 

In addition to medications you may already be taking for health conditions, your doctor may prescribe additional drugs to address new, post-surgery challenges, such as:

  • Omeprazole. This drug helps prevent digestive tract ulcers. 
  • Ursodiol. This medication reduces your risk of developing gallstones, which can occur with rapid weight loss. 

Taking Vitamins and Supplements Following Bariatric Surgery

After your procedure, your digestive system will function differently. Consequently, you may be at risk of conditions like anemia, kidney and bone diseases, and neurological problems from not getting enough of certain nutrients. 


Your doctor may have you take specific vitamins and supplements to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. While what and how much you take depends on the procedure you had, your general health, and other factors, typically, a post-bariatric-surgery regimen includes:


  • Multivitamin. It’s important to take a complete multivitamin containing iron following your surgery. 
  • Vitamin D3. People need around 3,000 international units of vitamin D3 daily. Your doctor may recommend a supplement if you aren’t getting enough from other sources. 
  • Vitamin B12. Available as a daily pill that dissolves under the tongue or a monthly injection, vitamin B12 is essential for good health. 
  • Calcium supplement. People who don’t get enough calcium in their diet may need to take a calcium citrate supplement in three daily doses. 

Bariatric Surgery Recovery: What to Avoid Consuming

Your care team will provide detailed information on how to proceed following bariatric surgery. Regarding eating, taking vitamins, etc., you should avoid anything that could stress your digestive system. 


In addition to medicines, vitamins, and supplements in capsule or tablet form (as noted above), the list of things to avoid includes foods that might irritate your system (rice, raw vegetables, fresh fruits) or that are difficult to chew into small pieces (meats like steak and pork, for example). 


You should also avoid carbonated drinks and consuming any beverage through a straw, as both can introduce air into your digestive tract. 


Baptist Health Bariatric Care Experts Are Here for You

Having bariatric surgery is a big step toward better health. However, to get the most from your procedure, you must understand what’s required of you going forward. 


The good news is your Baptist Healthcare team will guide you every step of the way!  Learn about our bariatric care and weight loss services today. 

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