Popular weight-loss drugs like Wegovy may raise risk of complications under anesthesia.

Patients who take blockbuster drugs like Wegovy or Ozempic for weight loss may face life-threatening complications if they need surgery or other procedures that require empty stomachs for anesthesia. 

This summer’s guidance to halt the medication for up to a week may not go far enough, either. 

In June, the American Society of Anesthesiologists issued guidance advising patients to skip daily weight-loss medications on the day of surgery and hold off on weekly injections for a week before any sedation procedures. 

Dr. Michael Champeau, the group’s president, said the action was based on anecdotal reports of problems — including aspiration — from around the country. 

It’s not clear how many patients taking the anti-obesity drugs may be affected by the issue. But because the consequences can be so dire, Hobai and a group of colleagues decided to speak out. 

Writing in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, they called for the drug to be stopped for even longer — about three weeks before sedation.