According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), 97% of all weight loss surgery patients avoided any post-op nausea or vomiting when a second drug was prescribed to them along with the standard treatment. This study was presented at the Anesthesiology 2013 annual meeting in San Francisco, California.*
It’s no secret that nausea and vomiting are common post-op symptoms due to the changes in the stomach. A patient must learn how to eat with a smaller stomach and adjust to the changes made in their body. During a standard weight loss surgery, the stomach is replaced so that it can only hold one ounce of food at a time. What most people don’t know is how dangerous vomiting can be for weight loss surgery patients. It risks the rupture of the incision, which would allow anything in the stomach to violently exit the narrow incision. By reducing this risk for patients, it will allow weight loss patients to not only be more comfortable after surgery but also allow for a safer procedure.
According to the American Journal of Surgery, nearly 113,000 people annually have some weight loss surgery. Also, almost 15 million or one in 50 adults in the United States are morbidly obese. Morbid obesity can lead to many potentially dangerous conditions that can shorten a person’s life. Some of these circumstances include and are not limited to infertility, hypertension, asthma, cancer, sleep apnea, heart disease, Type II Diabetes, and osteoarthritis. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery believe that $147 billion is spent on the direct and indirect costs of obesity.
About the Study
The ASA study evaluated nearly 124 weight loss patients after receiving some bariatric surgery. During the study, 64 of those studied received the combination treatment of Zofran, the standard medication along with aprepitant, an anti-nausea medication. The other 60 patients only received the Zofran and a placebo pill.
Aprepitant is a medication often given to cancer patients to help prevent nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy. It can also be used on its own after surgery much like in this study. The drug works by blocking neurokinin, which is a natural substance found in the brain that causes nausea and vomiting in patients.
The patient’s medications were administered an hour before anesthesia would occur for each patient’s surgery. To come up with the rate of nausea or to vomit in patients, the researchers studied patients on a 10-point scale in various intervals including 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 6 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours.
This study also found that only 3% of those who received the combination treatment experienced any post-operative nausea or vomiting. Vomiting occurred at a rate of 15% for the placebo group who only received the standard treatment of Zofran.
The study researchers believe that this study can benefit patients from the risk of having this dangerous complication as a result of weight loss surgery. The combination therapy allows anesthesiologists and surgeons to block the various receptors that directly affect whether someone is nauseous or vomits. This will lower the risk of nausea and vomiting and present a more reliable result for bariatric surgery patients who are adjusting to the changes in their body.