(HealthDay News) – Patients who undergo weight loss surgery may have an increased risk for substance use after surgery, according to a study published online Oct. 15 in the Archives of Surgery.

Alexis Conason, Psy.D., from the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center in New York City, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 155 participants who underwent weight loss surgery (laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass [100 participants] or laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery [55 participants]) to assess substance use before and after surgery. Eating behaviors and substance use were assessed at baseline and at one, three, six, 12, and 24 months after surgery.

The response rates to the survey were 61, 41, 43, 49, and 24 percent at one-month, three-month, six-month, 12-month, and 24-month follow-up. The researchers found that, at 24 months after surgery, participants reported significant increases in the frequency of substance use (a composite of drug and alcohol use and cigarette smoking). Specifically, from baseline and from one, three, and six months after surgery to 24 months after surgery, there were significant increases in the frequency of composite substance use. From baseline to 24 months after surgery, there was a significant increase in the frequency of alcohol use for participants who underwent laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

“Our study provides evidence that the frequency of substance use increased following weight loss surgery; more specifically, the frequency of alcohol use increased following laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery,” the authors write. “Further research is needed to identify factors related to increased risk of alcohol use following weight loss surgery.”

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