GLP-1 Weight Loss Meds Found Safe Pre-Operation

GLP-1 Weight Loss Meds Found Safe Pre-Operation
GLP-1 Weight Loss Meds Found Safe Pre-Operation. Credit | Getty images

United States: A recent analysis has found no evidence of any risk associated with taking Ozempic, Wegovy, or other GLP-1 drugs prior to surgery, despite recent worries to the contrary.

Drugs used to lose weight create a slowdown in the emptying of the stomach. Food was supposed to linger in the stomach, increasing the possibility that patients under anesthesia might aspirate food particles and choke.

However, a recent analysis of data from 15 randomised trials revealed that GLP-1 users had very little variation in stomach emptying—not enough to be dangerous during surgery.

Senior study author Dr. Walter Chan stated, “While GLP-1 medications affect gastrointestinal tract motility [movement], their quantified impact may not be as significant as previously assumed.”

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The Center of Gastrointestinal Motility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is headed by Chan. “It appears safe to continue these medications before a procedure requiring anesthesia or sedation, with minor precautions like abstaining from solid food for a day to minimize any potential risk of aspiration,” Chan said.

His group’s research was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology’s June issue.

Guidelines for the use of GLP-1 prior to surgery are not uniform, as the researchers clarified. Prior to elective operations and procedures, patients should cease taking GLP-1 drugs for up to one week, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists‘ recommendation.

However, the American Gastroenterological Association advises carrying out any scheduled surgery while following typical pre-surgical protocols, such as skipping solid food.

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Data from 15 randomized studies with a total of 652 participants were collected for the new review. Gastric emptying was assessed in patients receiving various GLP-1 medicines.

The researchers pointed out that patients are already instructed to refrain from eating solid food for eight hours before surgery. Gastric emptying seemed to be slowed down by just 36 minutes when using GLP-1.

Furthermore, according to a Brigham news release from the researchers, “none of the participants in any of the studies analyzed by the team experienced pulmonary aspiration” associated with delayed stomach emptying.

Lead author of the study Dr. Brent Hiramoto, a senior gastroenterology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said, “Based on our study, we recommend that guidelines be updated with the following precautions for GLP-1 RA users undergoing endoscopic procedures: continue therapy, follow a liquid-only diet the day prior, and adhere to standard pre-anesthesia fasting.” “Until further information on healthy eating is obtained, a cautious approach with a liquid diet while continuing therapy is advisable.