What Medications Should I Take Before Surgery?

Some pills you take, some you skip

Your surgeon or anesthesiologist will give you specific instructions on what medications to take, and what should be stopped.

You may take most medications with a SIP of water before surgery.

Common drug that SHOULD BE TAKEN on the day of surgery include:

  • Beta blockers (Inderal, atenolol, propranolol, etc.)

  • Thyroid medications (levothyroxine)

  • Seizure medications (dilantin, valproic acid, tegretol, topramax, etc.)

  • Asthma medications, including inhalers (albuterol etc.)

Drugs that should be STOPPED prior to  the day of surgery include:

  • Blood thinners (aspirin, heparin, lovenox, warfarin, coumadin, etc.)

  • ACE inhibitors for hypertension (Captopril, Enalapril, Losartan, etc.)

Some children can only take their medication with food. In that case, please contact our office for specific instructions before the day of surgery. Taking medication with FOOD on the morning of surgery  might cause the procedure to be delayed or cancelled.

If you have any questions about drugs you should take prior to your surgery, please contact your surgeon or your anesthesia team at our office.

Why Can't I Eat Before My Surgery?

NPO means nothing by mouth

NPO stands for Nil Per Os, which is Latin for Nothing By Mouth. Fasting before elective surgery is essential for your safety. Under general anesthesia, your body loses the protective reflexes that prevent your stomach contents from being breathed into your lungs. This is called aspiration and should it happen, aspiration could threaten your life.

An empty stomach is the best way to prevent aspiration. If you eat or drink prior to your surgery, the procedure will be delayed or cancelled, in order to protect you.

Click here to read our policy on fasting. (Medications are a different story, see those recommendations below.) 

Frequently Asked Questions About Anesthesia

Great Lakes Anesthesiology

Who Will Be Watching Over Me During My Operation?

Rest assured, you are in capable hands

Your anesthesiologist is a doctor. After medical school he (or she) completed a one year internship, and a residency of at least three more years in the specialty of anesthesia. In addition, he may have done even more specialized training in pediatric anesthesia, pain medicine or cardiac anesthesia, among other subspecialties (or trained in other medical fields). In all, your anesthesiologist has spent more than 8 years since starting medical school preparing for your operation, in addition to many years of experience!

Our anesthesiologists most often practice in the Anesthesia Care Team model. We are assisted by anesthesia residents (doctors in anesthesia training) and fellows (anesthesia doctors who are obtaining advanced subspecialty training) as well as skilled certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). In order to provide safe patient care, the anesthesiologist directs the Anesthesia Care Team. The Anesthesiologist is responsible for evaluating the patient before surgery, prescribing the anesthetic plan, managing the anesthetic during surgery and providing post anesthesia care.

To read more about our doctors, click here.

What If I Have Questions For My Anesthesiologist?

The preoperative visit

You will meet your anesthesia team on the day of surgery. We will ask you many questions about your health and anesthesia experiences, in order to plan the best anesthetic for you. For most patients, all of their concerns are addressed at that time. Some patients have special medical issues, and may be referred by their surgeon to our office for a preoperative consultation. Many patients will also be sent to to their primary care doctor to get a complete and up to date picture of their health problems. If you have specific questions or concerns, we would be happy to speak with you by telephone. Usually that will save you a special trip to our office. Please contact our office during normal business hours.

Didn't Find The Answer Here?

The ASA has a website full of

resources for patients

Click here to visit the website (opens a new tab in your browser)