Regarding Ozempic, Wegovy & Anesthesia Safety

Wilmington Oral Surgery patient safety is of paramount importance.

Many of our patients are taking medications for a wide variety of medical conditions. Over the past year, there has been a push in the medical and pharmaceutical industries to use Ozempic and Wegovy for weight loss.

A recent report outlines that these medications pose a potential risk to patients when they are under anesthesia. In the report, although the fasting (NPO) guidelines were followed by the patient, an increased incidence of emesis and aspiration was noted. When this occurs, stomach contents end up in the lungs, which is a very serious issue and can result in an ICU admission and even death.

At this point there is no consensus on how to address this issue. I have read two differing recommendations: stop the medication for one week prior to anesthesia, or stop the medication three weeks before the procedure you’re having done.

Noting how long these medications work in the body, the three week hold is a better recommendation. If you are a Wilmington Oral Surgery patient and have questions about this content, please contact our office.


Dr. Scott Puckett

Why Don’t Weight Loss Drugs & Oral Surgery Sedation Mix?

While these reports are new, we can understand what’s happening. Ozempic, Wegovy and related medications are GLP-1 agonists. Basically, they start a chain reaction of signals that tell the body to slow the digestive system down. This helps you feel full for longer, but it also means that undigested food stays in your upper digestive system for longer. This is why even if a patient waits the recommended 8 hours, Ozempic could cause them to still have food in the stomache that can be regurgitated if the patient has a reaction to the anesthesia. This can result in aspiration, which can cause pneumonia, infection, or even death.

Some medical professionals feel comfortable recommending either skipping a weekly injection or stopping a daily one for a week before your oral surgery, others recommend two or even three. A recent study suggested that GLP-1 drugs take 3 weeks for 90% to be removed from the bloodstream. And patients taking these medications should also keep in mind that there is no guarantee your digestive system will go back to normal after pausing the medication. Always keep your oral surgeon apprised of what medications you’re on and any medical conditions you have so we can ensure your anesthesia experience is as safe as it can be.

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