Preliminary comparison of sertraline levels in postbariatric surgery patients versus matched nonsurgical cohort

Surg Obes Relat Dis. Jan-Feb 2012;8(1):62-6. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2010.12.003. Epub 2010 Dec 15.


Background: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is the most frequent bariatric procedure performed in the United States, with thousands performed. Because of the changes to the gastrointestinal tract, the potential exists for clinically significant alterations in the absorption/bioavailability of ingested medications. The purpose of the present pilot trial was to determine to what extent RYGB alters the area under the plasma concentration/time curve (AUC(0-10.5)) of the antidepressant, sertraline at a community research center.

Methods: After an overnight fast, 5 postbariatric surgery and 5 nonsurgical control subjects matched for body mass index, age, and gender received 100 mg of sertraline. Plasma samples were obtained for 10.5 hours. The mean AUC(0-10.5), maximal plasma concentration, and the interval to the peak plasma level were obtained for both groups.

Results: The mean AUC(0-10.5) was significantly smaller for the postbariatric surgery group (124.4 ± 55.5 ng-hr/mL, range 62.0-198.1; P = .043) compared with the nonsurgical control group (314.8 ± 129.6 ng-hr/mL, range 194.8-508.7). The maximal plasma concentration was also significantly smaller for the postbariatric surgery group than for the nonsurgical control group (P = .043).

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first reported study exploring antidepressant pharmacokinetics after bariatric surgery. In the present trial, the AUC(0-10.5) and maximal plasma concentration were significantly smaller in the subjects who had undergone RYGB than in the matched subjects who had not. Additional investigation of the effects of bariatric surgery (RYGB, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric banding) on the antidepressant pharmacokinetic parameters is warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / psychology
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sertraline / administration & dosage
  • Sertraline / pharmacokinetics*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Sertraline