The Effect of Bariatric Surgery on Oral Antibiotic Absorption: a Systematic Review



The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the existing literature to determine the effect of bariatric surgery on various pharmacokinetic parameters of oral antibiotic absorption as well as overall patient outcomes.

Materials and Methods

MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) were searched up to February 2020. Outcomes of interest included change in pharmacokinetic parameters of oral antibiotics administered to patients following bariatric surgery, using variables such as maximum plasma concentration (Cmax), time to reach maximum plasma concentration (Tmax), area under the concentration-time curve (AUC), clearance, and volume of distribution. MINORS and Cochrane risk of bias tools were used to assess quality of evidence.


Ten studies with 100 patients assessing 8 oral antibiotics were included. The majority (77%) of patients underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), with fewer undergoing ventral banded gastroplasty (VBG) (14%), jejunoileostomy (6%), and jejunoileal bypass (3%). Antibiotic classes investigated included beta-lactams (5 studies), fluoroquinolones (2 studies), macrolides (2 studies), and oxazolidinones (1 study). Heterogeneity between studies precluded meaningful pooling or meta-analysis of data. Overall risk of bias was fair.


Patients given oral beta-lactams and macrolides warrant close monitoring due to unpredictable absorption post-bariatric surgery, whereas oral fluoroquinolones and linezolid may not be affected. Several studies also showed decreased absorption following RYGB, as well as lower serum exposure in patients with obesity compared to non-obese controls. Clinicians should monitor patients on a case-by-case basis for signs of antibiotic failure or toxicity and reassess dosing accordingly.

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Correspondence to Dennis Hong.

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Anvari, S., Lee, Y., Lam, M. et al. The Effect of Bariatric Surgery on Oral Antibiotic Absorption: a Systematic Review. OBES SURG 30, 2883–2892 (2020).

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  • Bariatric surgery
  • Obesity
  • Antibiotics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Gastric bypass
  • Systematic review