As with any tissue or organ donation, precautions must be taken to ensure that donated blood isn’t harmful for sick patients. It surprises many folks to hear that despite all good intention, your eligibility to donate blood may be affected by the medications you’re taking.
Here’s what you need to know.
First, taking the following medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor forever, but it may result in a waiting period following your last dose. So keep this in mind if you are donating for a friend or family member; this may be a big deal if you’re in a rush.
Let’s see the list that will cause a (sometimes very) long waiting period.
1) Acne medications – isotretinoin
Accutane, Absorica, claravis, myorisan, sotret and zenatane are all oral forms of isotretinoin used for severe acne. We know these medications can cause birth defects, and that’s why you will not be able to donate blood unless you took your last dose at least a month before your donation.
2) Finasteride and dutasteride
Proscar and Propecia are brand names for finasteride, a medication used for symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and hair loss in men. Because finasteride can lead to birth defects in male babies, you will need to wait at least one month since your last dose before you can donate blood.
Dutasteride is similar. It comes in brand-name Avodart, which is used for hair loss and BPH in men, as well as Jalyn, which is a combination of dutasteride and tamsulosin used just for BPH. With these medications, you will have to wait at least 6 months since your last dose to donate blood due to risks of birth defects in male fetuses.
3) Psoriasis medication – Soriatane (acitretin)
Soriatane (acitretin) is a medication used to treat psoriasis, and you will have to wait at least 3 years—yes, 3 years—after taking it to donate blood. Severe congenital birth defects and death are associated with acitretin use.
4) Antiplatelet medications
Antiplatelet medications like aspirin, Plavix, Ticlid, Effient, and Brilinta don’t affect waiting periods for donating blood, but they do affect platelet donation. You must wait at least 2 days after taking aspirin to donate platelets. For Plavix and Ticlid, you must wait at least 14 days after taking them to donate platelets.
Effient and Brilinta are also antiplatelet medications, used for folks who have coronary artery disease. While no waiting period is needed for donating blood, you must wait at least 7 days after taking these medication to donate platelets.
5) Blood thinners
If you are taking Arixtra, Coumadin or heparin, you cannot donate since your blood will not clot normally. You can only donate blood 7 days after you discontinue these medications.
Newer blood thinners like Fragmin, Eliquis, Pradaxa, Xarelto and Lovenox are used in people with atrial fibrillation or those with clots in their legs (deep venous thrombosis). With these drugs, you will need to wait only 2 days from your last dose before donating.
6) Growth hormone injections
If you’ve used human pituitary-derived growth hormone at any time, you are not eligible to donate blood.
7) Multiple sclerosis medication – Aubagio
Aubagio is a medication taken daily by people with multiple sclerosis. Researchers are still debating whether or not Aubagio causes birth defects, but the Red Cross says you must wait at least 2 years after discontinuing the drug before you can donate blood.
A quick note: Over-the-counter oral homeopathic medications, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are acceptable and will not exclude you from donating blood.
Hope this helps.
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