Implications of Bariatric Surgery on Absorption of Nutrients and Medications

Mary Carpenter, PharmD; Mary Ellen Pisano, PharmD; Christopher M. Bland, PharmD, BCPS, FIDSA


US Pharmacist. 2016;41(12):HS-2-HS-8. 

In This Article


In conclusion, bariatric patients are at increased risk of nutrient deficiencies as evident from available literature. These patients should receive adequate supplementation and follow-up to ensure adherence and identification of underlying deficiency. Malabsorption of medications due to surgical changes in the GI tract can be a potential problem in this population. With the limited data available for management of specific pharmacotherapies, it is imperative to assess the efficacy of pharmacotherapy on an individual basis. Because the number of patients receiving bariatric surgery is growing significantly, further procedure-specific and drug-specific studies are required to ensure that bariatric patients are receiving the intended benefits of pharmacotherapies prescribed. Research is especially needed in pharmacotherapy classes where there are significant consequences to decreased absorption, for example, of antimicrobials, anticoagulants, and chemotherapy. The utilization of a multidisciplinary team including a pharmacist is most beneficial in this patient population in order to maximize the long-term benefits of bariatric surgery for the individual patient.