02/08/2011 - News

Weight Loss Surgery Reduces Diabetes Medication Use

By: June Chen, MD


People who have difficulty losing weight through diet and exercise may decide to undergo bariatric surgery, more commonly referred to as weight loss surgery, in order to achieve a healthier weight. Now, new research shows that weight loss surgery may have an unexpected benefit in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes. According to a new study published in the August 2010 issue of the Archives of Surgery, obese people with type 2 diabetes who undergo weight loss surgery may be able to stop taking their insulin and other diabetes medications within six months of surgery.

In this study of more than 2,200 U.S. adults who underwent weight loss surgery, over 85 percent of the participants were taking at least one diabetes medication prior to surgery. Within six months of surgery, nearly three out of four of these people were off diabetes medications due to improvements in their blood glucose levels. At two years after surgery, nearly 85 percent were no longer taking medications for diabetes. The researchers suggest that, due to the subsequent reduction in diabetes medication and other diabetes-related healthcare costs, weight loss surgery may be a cost-effective option for losing weight.
Like all surgeries, weight loss surgery is associated with risks, including complications such as bleeding and infection at the incision sites. Clinical data show that using OPTIFAST before surgery can help patients lose enough weight to significantly reduce health risks associated with the weight loss surgery itself. OPTIFAST combines support and counseling, lifestyle education, and medical monitoring with a great-tasting meal replacement to help people lose weight and reduce weight-related health risks, such as high cholesterol, high blood glucose, and high blood pressure. Presurgical use of OPTIFAST also contributes to reduced recovery time and increased weight loss in the first year following surgery.
If you are considering weight loss surgery, or are already scheduled for the procedure, talk to your health care provider about using OPTIFAST or find an OPTIFAST clinic near you.

Makary MA, et al. Medication utilization and annual health care costs in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus before and after bariatric surgery. Arch Surg 2010; 145(8): 726-731.

Created on: 08/21/2010
Reviewed on: 02/08/2011

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