What Medications Disqualify You From Donating Blood?

What Medications Disqualify You From Donating Blood What Medications Disqualify You From Donating Blood

What Medications Disqualify You from Donating Blood? – Overview


Blood donation is a common procedure performed nowadays. People are able to do it and help others, including loved ones, to recover or get better from several medical conditions, including life-threatening ones.

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 donate blood annually in the United States. In addition, the ages 16 to 18 contributed 1.2 million successful blood donations that year.

In this article, we will take a 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 are aware that these medications can cause congenital disabilities, which is why people using these medications 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, which is used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) 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) is usually used to treat 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

Antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, Effient, Brilinta, Plavix, Ticlid, and Zontivity, do not require you to wait before donating 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 have been prescribed Warfarin (Coumadin or Jantoven) or if you are taking Heparin, you cannot donate blood as they cause the blood to clot abnormally. In such situations, if your physician discontinues your treatment, you can donate blood.

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

If you use human pituitary-derived growth hormone, you are directly disqualified from donating blood.

7- Aubagio (for multiple sclerosis)

Aubagio medicine is prescribed to treat multiple sclerosis. Scientists are still debating if this medication is the cause of congenital disabilities. However, the Red Cross recommends you wait at least 2 years after the last dose of the drug before you can donate blood.

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 medication is discontinued by the treating physician.
  • Leflunomide (Arava) is another medication used in the treatment of 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 was once withdrawn from the market and is currently reintroduced for the treatment of 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. If you take narcotics painkillers, then you should not donate blood or plasma to a donor. 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, as blood and cholesterol are totally different things.

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 are not allowed to donate platelets as aspirin changes the overall functionality of platelets. For that reason, it is not recommended to donate platelets while taking aspirin medicine.

Can women with periods donate blood?

Yes, they can! Menstruating women are naturally fit to donate blood. 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. It is natural and anyone with blood pressure or with blood pressure medications can donate blood as soon as they are healthy.

How long does it take to recover from blood donation?

After donating blood, the level of hemoglobin of the donor reduces. However, it comes back to its natural level in 6-12 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:

  • The age of the donor should be 18- 60 years.
  • Hemoglobin level must not be less than 12.5 g/DI.
  • 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?

There are no major side effects after donating blood or plasma. However, most people experience fatigue, dehydration, bleeding, bruising, etc. These are the common side effects after donating blood or plasma.


While over-the-counter homeopathic medications, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies do not disqualify you from donating blood, it is highly advisable to consult your primary care physician or doctor before you even think of donating your blood.

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

How to Educate Patients About Medications?

Do Blood Thinners Decrease Blood Pressure?

Do Blood Thinners Decrease Affect Oxygen Levels?

How to Educate a Patient About High Blood Pressure?

I am a dedicated healthcare researcher and an enthusiast specializing in medical grants, medical education and research. Through my articles, I aim to empower healthcare professionals and researchers with valuable insights and resources to navigate these critical aspects effectively.

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