Anecdotal reports suggest bariatric surgery may increase the risk of alcohol use disorder (AUD), but prospective data are lacking.
To determine the prevalence of preoperative and postoperative AUD, and independent predictors of postoperative AUD.
A prospective cohort study (Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2) of adults who underwent bariatric surgery at 10 US hospitals. Of 2458 participants, 1945 (78.8% female; 87.0% white; median age, 47 years; median body mass index, 45.8) completed preoperative and postoperative (at 1 year and/or 2 years) assessments between 2006 and 2011.
Past year AUD symptoms determined with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (indication of alcohol-related harm, alcohol dependence symptoms, or score ≥8).
The prevalence of AUD symptoms did not significantly differ from 1 year before to 1 year after bariatric surgery (7.6% vs 7.3%; P = .98), but was significantly higher in the second postoperative year (9.6%; P = .01). The following preoperative variables were independently related to an increased odds of AUD after bariatric surgery: male sex (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.14 [95% CI, 1.51-3.01]; P < .001), younger age (age per 10 years younger with preoperative AUD: AOR, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.03-1.68], P = .03; age per 10 years younger without preoperative AUD: AOR, 1.95 [95% CI, 1.65-2.30], P < .001), smoking (AOR, 2.58 [95% CI, 1.19-5.58]; P = .02), regular alcohol consumption (≥ 2 drinks/week: AOR, 6.37 [95% CI, 4.17-9.72]; P < .001), AUD (eg, at age 45, AOR, 11.14 [95% CI, 7.71-16.10]; P < .001), recreational drug use (AOR, 2.38 [95% CI, 1.37-4.14]; P = .01), lower sense of belonging (12-item Interpersonal Support Evaluation List score per 1 point lower: AOR, 1.09 [95% CI, 1.04-1.15]; P = .01), and undergoing a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure (AOR, 2.07 [95% CI, 1.40-3.08]; P < .001; reference category: laparoscopic adjustable gastric band procedure).
In this cohort, the prevalence of AUD was greater in the second postoperative year than the year prior to surgery or in the first postoperative year and was associated with male sex and younger age, numerous preoperative variables (smoking, regular alcohol consumption, AUD, recreational drug use, and lower interpersonal support) and undergoing a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure.