Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gastric bypass and alcohol article

I found this article today in the Los Angeles Times online and wanted to make sure you saw it too. The information is amazing and important for all bariatric patients to know. This study used the same group of patients to measure breath alcohol content -- from pre-op through six months post-op. At 3 months out, alcohol content is double than pre-op. But at 6 months out, that number triples. But the "feeling" of being drunk in that same time frame seemed to drop among the patients studied. 

Read this carefully and follow the links in the article. Then share this information with your WLS friends. 


Gastric bypass and alcohol: mix with caution

March 10, 20114:35 p.m.

Alcohol can be a minefield for anyone trying to lose weight. But for bariatric surgery patients, drinking can become increasingly problematic, a new study has found.

Changes in the way the body absorbs and metabolizes alcohol after gastric bypass mean these patients need less alcohol to register intoxication on a breathalyzer, says a study published recently in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. After drinking a single 5-ounce glass of red wine before their surgery, the study's 19 subjects had an average breath alcohol content of .024% -- well below the level at which most states consider a driver intoxicated.

Three months after surgery, the same glass of red wine resulted in an average breath alcohol content of .059%, and six months post-surgery, the group averaged .088%, which surpasses the .08% widely recognized as the legal threshold for intoxication.

It also took longer for patients to return to complete sobriety in the wake of that drink: Pre-operation, it took subjects 49 minutes to return to complete sobriety after a glass of wine; three months after the operation, it took  61 minutes for that to happen, and six months after surgery, it took 88 minutes.

The study -- the first to compare the same group of subjects pre- and post-surgery -- found a potentially insidious change, as well, in how patients experienced alcohol consumption. Before surgery, 58% reported a feeling of euphoria after a glass of wine -- a number that shot up to 88% at three months post-surgery, and then dropped to 50% at six months on. Sensations of dizziness and warmth -- rare before surgery -- were commonly reported six months after. At that point, one in four subjects also reported experiencing double-vision after drinking a glass of wine--a sensation none reported before. 

The researchers, from Stanford University School of Medicine, expressed concern that bariatric surgery patients' different experience of alcohol consumption might result in confusing signals. "Patients feel different effects of alcohol intoxication postoperatively, and this can lead to over-indulgence to achieve the same symptoms of intoxication that they experienced before surgery," the study's authors wrote.

There are lots of reason to forgo alcohol in the wake of a gastric bypass the authors warned: Bariatric patients that have unresolved binge-eating issues, in particular, are at risk of "transferring" their food addiction to other substances, including alcohol. And even those without such issues raise their risk of weight regain after surgery, and of deficiencies in thiamine (vitamin B-1).

After obesity surgery, patients should never drink and drive, wrote the authors. They should also limit their alcohol consumption to a maximum of 1 unit of alcohol (a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 2-ounce serving of distilled alcohol) in any two-hour period.

1 comment:

  1. WOW . . good article. . . I have sipped some wine lately with my friend and I just can't do it . . I am printing this so he can understand why it hits me so hard. . . as always thanks!


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