What medications prevent donating blood?

October 16, 2017

By Kelly McGinty

In most cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor.

Those taken for high blood pressure and allergies, birth control pills, vitamins and diet pills do not affect your eligibility. Over-the-counter oral homeopathic medications, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are also acceptable.

However, there are a handful of drugs that do have an impact on your blood donation. If you’re taking these medications, there are waiting periods following your last dose before you can give blood.

Anti-platelet agents affect platelet function, so if you take them you have to wait between two to 14 days to donate platelets. However, you may still be able to donate whole blood.

Anticoagulants, or “blood thinners,” are used to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. Because these medications affect your blood’s ability to clot, if you’re taking anti-clotting medications you are not allowed to donate blood for a minimum of two to seven days (depending on the specific medication) after your last dose to prevent excessive bleeding and bruising that may occur when you donate.

Pregnant women are a key group of blood transfusion recipients, but there are some medications that should not be given to expectant mothers. Certain acne, balding, enlarged prostate and psoriasis treatments can cause birth defects if your donated blood contains high enough levels to damage the unborn baby. You won’t be able to donate while you are taking them for a certain time period afterwards to ensure they are not still in your blood.

If you are treated for hepatitis exposure with Hepatitis B Immune Globulin (HBIG), you will not be able to donate blood for 12 months following your injection. HBIG is used to prevent a hepatitis B infection, but it is not guaranteed to do so. Therefore, someone who has received the vaccine must wait to make sure they do not develop the disease before donating.

Erivedge, used to treat basal cell skin cancer, and Aubagio, a treatment for relapsing multiple sclerosis, can be deadly for an unborn baby if transfused to a pregnant woman. Once the medication has been cleared from your blood, a process that takes 24 months, you may donate blood again.

Before visiting the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center to donate blood, check out the full list of medications that affect your eligibility to do so.

Kelly McGinty is a student at the University of the Incarnate Word.

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