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After Bariatric Surgery, Alcohol Abuse More Likely

Second Year After Weight Loss Surgery May Be Riskiest

Weight Loss Surgery and Alcohol Problems: A Closer Look continued...

"The alcohol gets to the small intestine more quickly," she says.

Some patients say they feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than they did before the surgery, she says.

However, King's team did not assign people to any particular type of weight loss surgery. So the researchers weren't directly testing whether some surgeries were more of a risk than others.

Alcohol use disorders were also more likely to develop in men, younger people, recreational drug users, smokers, people who felt socially isolated, and people who drank two or more drinks per week.

Bariatric Surgery and Alcohol Abuse: Perspective

The new research is not surprising, says Robin Blackstone, MD, president of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

She reviewed the study for WebMD but was not involved in it.

As a result of the bypass procedure, the alcohol doesn't get metabolized normally, says Blackstone.

"I tell people they should absolutely not drink alcohol at all if they have the gastric bypass," Blackstone tells WebMD.

She says her advice applies only to the Roux-en-Y procedure. The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery does not have a policy on alcohol use after Roux-en-Y, she says.

If patients are treated at a nationally recognized center, she says, they will have an evaluation to uncover alcohol problems and other issues.

The new research is valuable, Blackstone says. "It not only confirms the fact that there are some people affected by this alcohol sensitivity, but it also tells us who those people are who are most at risk."

With that information, doctors can suggest the best weight loss surgery for specific patients, Blackstone says.

King has no disclosures. Co-author Anita Courcoulas, MD, MPH, of the University of Pittsburgh, reports receiving research grants from Allergen, Pfizer, Covidien, and EndoGastric Solutions. She is a consultant for, and serves on the scientific advisory board of, Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon Healthcare System.

Another co-author, Walter J. Pories, MD, of East Carolina University, is a consultant to Johnson & Johnson Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. and receives grants from them and GlaxoSmithKline.

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