What Medications Disqualify You From Donating Blood?

What Medications Disqualify You from Donating Blood? – Overview


Blood donation is a vital medical procedure that saves lives. People can help others, including loved ones, recover or get better from several medical conditions, including life-threatening ones. Anti-inflammatory drugs may not necessarily disqualify you from donating blood; eligibility depends on the specific medication and condition being treated.

However, if you take medications, this post provides helpful information regarding the medications that disqualify you from donating blood, including acne medications (Absorica, Clarus, Sotret, etc.), benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment (Proscar, Avodart), psoriasis medications (Acitretin, Tegison), antiplatelet medications (aspirin, Effient, Brilinta, Plavix, Ticlid, etc.), anticoagulant medications (Coumadin, Heparin, Xarelto, Eliquis, etc.), anti-inflammatory drugs (Feldene), and cancer and immunosuppressant medications.

Some medications can disqualify you temporarily or permanently from donating blood.

Blood donation has become extremely common and popular today. Many people wish to donate blood in the hopes of helping someone in a life-threatening situation. However, only some people who want to donate blood can do so.

There are several restrictions on the type of people who qualify to donate blood. However, there’s a constant need for healthy blood donors, as people with certain blood disorders need to undergo regular blood transfusions to survive.

Approximately 3% of the population donates blood annually in the United States. In addition, people aged 16 to 18 made 1.2 million successful blood donations that year.

In this article, we will look at what medications disqualify you from donating blood.

Medications That Disqualify You From Donating Blood

Here is a list of the different medications that may disqualify you from donating blood:

Medications Disqualify You From Donating Blood

List of the different medications that may disqualify you from donating blood

1- Acne Medication Containing Isotretinoin

Absorica, Accutane, Amnesteen, Clarus, Claravis, Epuris, Myorisan, Sotret, and Zenatane are all oral medications containing isotretinoin used to treat severe acne. Scientists know that these medications can cause congenital disabilities, which is why people using them are told to avoid donating blood.

This applies unless you took these medications’ last dose over a month before your donation.

2- Dutasteride and Finasteride

Propecia and Proscar are brand names for finasteride, used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) symptoms and premature hair loss in men. As finasteride can cause birth defects in male babies, you must wait at least one month from the last dose before donating your blood.

Similarly, dutasteride (Avodart) treats premature hair loss and BPH in men. If you are on this medication, you must wait at least six months before you can donate blood.

3- Psoriasis Medications

Soriatane (Acitretin) is normally used to treat psoriasis. If you are taking this medication and want to donate blood, you will need to wait at least 3 years after stopping the medication from doing so. Acitretin medication has the risk of causing severe congenital birth defects and even death of newborn children.

Furthermore, if you are taking Etretinate (Tegison), you cannot donate blood.

4- Antiplatelet Medications

For antiplatelet medications like aspirin, waiting periods are recommended before donating platelets, not whole blood. However, they do affect the platelet count in your blood. This is why doctors and health experts recommend waiting for a specific period while taking antiplatelets if it is to donate platelets:

  • Aspirin: 2 days.
  • Prasugrel (Effient): 3 days.
  • Ticagrelor (Brilinta, Brilique): 7 days.
  • Plavix (clopidogrel): 14 days.
  • Ticlid (ticlopidine): 14 days.

5- Blood Thinners

If you are taking anticoagulants like Warfarin or Heparin, you may be ineligible to donate blood; consult with a healthcare professional for specific guidelines. In such situations, you can donate blood if your physician discontinues your treatment.

Similarly, medications such as Fondaparinux (Arixta), Dalteparin (Framgin), Enoxaparin (Lovenox), Apixaban (Eliquis), Edoxaban (Savaysa), Rivaroxaban (Xarelto), and Dabigatran (Pradaxa), you should wait at least 2 days to donate blood, if your physician discontinues the medication.

6- Growth Hormone Injections

You are directly disqualified from donating blood if you use human pituitary-derived growth hormone.

7- Aubagio (for multiple sclerosis)

Aubagio (teriflunomide) is used to treat multiple sclerosis, and donors must wait at least 2 years after the last dose before donating blood due to its long half-life and potential teratogenic effects.

8- Antiviral Therapy

Certain antiviral medications are incompatible with blood donation, including:

  • Oral HIV prevention medications: you can donate blood 3 months after the exposure.
  • Injectable HIV prevention medications: you can donate blood 2 years after exposure.
  • Hepatitis B immune Globulin: you can donate blood 12 months after the administration.

9- Antineoplastic, Antiinflammatory and Immunosuppressant/Immunomodulator Medications

  • People using Upadacitinib (Rinvoq), a medication used to treat Rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, can donate blood after 1 month if discontinued by the treating physician.
  • Individuals taking Mycophenolate Mofetil (Cellcept) should wait 6 weeks to donate blood if the treating physician discontinues the medication.
  • Leflunomide (Arava) is another medication used to treat Rheumatoid arthritis. People using this medication should wait 2 years to donate blood.
  • People using Vismodegib (Erivedge) or Sonidegib (Odomzo), which are drugs used in the treatment of skin cancer, should wait 2 years as well.
  • Thalidomide (Thalomid) is a medication known for its teratogenic effects. It was once withdrawn from the market and is currently reintroduced to treat specific inflammatory conditions. People using this medication can donate blood 1 month after the last dose.
  • People using Piroxicam (Feldene) should wait 2 days to donate platelets.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medications and Donating Blood

Can you donate blood if you take painkillers?

It depends upon what type of painkillers you are having to overcome pain. While taking narcotic painkillers may require evaluation, they do not automatically disqualify you from donating blood; eligibility depends on the specific medication and your condition. If you have non-narcotic painkillers, you can donate plasma or blood to a donor.

Can I donate blood if I have high cholesterol?

Having high cholesterol is a common condition in most people. It doesn’t restrict the person from donating blood or plasma. Yes, you can donate blood if you have high cholesterol, since high cholesterol does not affect the safety or quality of donated blood.

What if I take aspirin? Can I donate blood?

Yes, you can donate whole blood to a donor even if you have aspirin. However, you must wait 2 days after taking aspirin before donating platelets due to its effect on platelet function. For that reason, it is not recommended to donate platelets while taking aspirin medicine.

Can women with periods donate blood?

Yes, they can! Menstruating does not affect a woman's eligibility to donate blood, provided they feel well and meet all other donation criteria. Make sure that the condition of the donor-woman is good enough. Make sure that they have some snacks post-donation of blood. Menstruating women must discuss the effects of donating blood with an authorized person.

Can a person with high blood pressure donate blood?

Yes, a person with high blood pressure can donate blood. Even taking medications to control your blood pressure doesn’t disqualify you from donating blood. Individuals with controlled high blood pressure can donate blood if they meet all other health and safety criteria.

How long does it take to recover from blood donation?

After donating blood, the level of hemoglobin of the donor reduces. Recovery of hemoglobin levels and plasma volume starts immediately, with hemoglobin typically returning to normal within 4-6 weeks. For that reason, it is recommended by the experts to donate blood after completing 3 months i.e. at least 12 weeks. You can donate blood even if it completes just 6 weeks, but you should wait for at least 12 weeks to donate blood the next time.

What are the most common conditions for donating blood?

A donor must meet the following conditions only then he/ she will be allowed to donate blood:

  • Eligibility age for blood donation varies by country, with many allowing donors up to 65-70 years old, and some even beyond, subject to health status.
  • Hemoglobin level must not be less than 12.5 g/dL for females and 13.0 g/dL for males, although this can vary by blood donation organization
  • Normal blood pressure
  • Normal pulse rate with no irregularities
  • The normal temperature of the donor

What are the most common side effects post-blood donation?

While serious side effects are rare, donors may experience dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness in addition to the listed common side effects. However, most people experience fatigue, dehydration, bleeding, bruising, etc. These are the common side effects after donating blood or plasma.


Most over-the-counter medications, including homeopathic remedies, nutritional supplements, and herbal products, do not disqualify you from donating blood, but disclosure of all medications to the blood donation center is important for donor and recipient safety.

Similarly, you should review the whole list of eligibility criteria by the American Red Cross Blood Services before donating blood.

We hope the above-shared information will help. If you have thoughts to share, please share them in the comment section.

See Also

Integrative Medicine Training for Physicians

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