Just Say No!

Mar 11, 2019

JUST SAY NO…to NSAIDs and Steroids!

Do you remember the popular phrase “Just Say No” that earmarked the advertising campaign of the 1980’s and 90’s urging kids to “just say no” to illicit drugs?  As a bariatric surgery patient, we want you to “just say no” to a different type of drugs…two types, actually.  Although not illicit, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and steroids can be dangerous when taken by patients who have had bariatric surgery. 

NSAIDS are drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, Motrin, Aleve, Excedrin, Goody’s, Mobic, and Midol…just to name a few.  Steroids include medications like prednisone, hydrocortisone, Depo-Medrol, and decadron.  These drugs can cause ulcers (known as marginal ulcers) along the staple line in your stomach.  Sometimes, the ulcers become difficult to heal and are a source of misery for years after surgery.  If an ulcer perforates (or tears a hole through the lining of the stomach), your stomach contents can spill out into your abdominal cavity and cause an infection known as sepsis.  If sepsis is unable to be treated, it ultimately leads to death.

The risk for ulcers with NSAIDS and steroids is greatest in gastric bypass patients, who should never take either of these types of medications.  If a patient who has undergone a sleeve gastrectomy needs a short course of NSAIDs or steroids (for example, a patient experiencing a flare-up of lupus), the risk for harm is not as great as in the gastric bypass patient.  If you must be placed on an NSAID or steroid for a short time, contact our office so that your surgeon can be informed.  Regardless of which procedure you have had, all bariatric patients should be mindful to avoid these medications at all costs.  Take charge of your own health and question your providers when any new medication is prescribed to ensure that the drug is not classified as an NSAID or steroid.  You have the power to JUST SAY NO for your health and well-being!

Source: American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

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