Weight-loss surgery linked to alcohol use

June 18, 2012 at 11:52 PM
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PITTSBURGH, June 18 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers found patients who had gastric bypass surgery to lose weight had a significantly elevated risk of alcohol use disorders.

Lead author Dr. Wendy King of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and colleagues investigated alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder symptoms in 1,945 participants from a prospective study of patients undergoing weight-loss surgery.

Within 30 days before surgery, and again one and two years after surgery, study participants completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification test, which identifies symptoms of alcohol use disorders. Study participants were categorized as having alcohol use disorder if they had at least one symptom of alcohol dependence such as not being able to stop drinking once started, or alcohol-related harm.

About 70 percent of the study participants had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery -- which reduces the size of the stomach and shortens the intestine, limiting food intake and the body's ability to absorb calories -- while 25 percent had laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery, which makes the stomach smaller with an adjustable band. About 5 percent of the patients had another weight-loss surgery.

The study, published online ahead of the print edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found among participants who had the Roux-en-Y procedure, 7 percent reported symptoms of alcohol use disorders prior to surgery, no significant increase in alcohol use disorder one year after surgery, but by the second year 10.7 percent of patients reported symptoms of alcohol use disorder.

The findings were presented Monday at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery meeting in San Diego.

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