Can I let the vampires get me?
June 21, 2006 1:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm taking medication. Am I still eligible to donate blood in the UK?

I am taking 60mg of Prozac a day. Does this make me ineligible to donate blood to the NHS? I can't ask the blood service because their web screening simply tells me to phone them to ask, and their phone lines are only open whilst I'm at work. And I don't really want to be having a conversation like this in the middle of my office with colleagues listening. Does anyone out there know the answer?
posted by talitha_kumi to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
I am feeling generous today. Sooo I called them for you and they asked me lots of scary questions like "what is she taking it for, is it mild depression", so I guess they are more concerned about the condition than about the medication... however they said they were in fact open 24hrs a day.

The number I rang was 08457 711 711.
Good luck!
posted by ClarissaWAM at 2:05 AM on June 21, 2006

Also they have an online query form here for the same purpose.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 2:07 AM on June 21, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks Clarissa. That's the same number I called yesterday. The trouble was that the call handler wasn't able to answer the question without consulting their medical advice team - who are only available Monday to Friday 9-5.

I sumitted a request on the online form, and hopefully they'll give me an answer. The last time I used that form, they just replied saying to call the helpline and talk to a medical advisor in person.

The prozac is for moderate depression.
posted by talitha_kumi at 3:21 AM on June 21, 2006

Could you perhaps call from a phone box during your lunch break?
posted by chrismear at 3:43 AM on June 21, 2006

Or a mobile phone?
posted by antifuse at 3:46 AM on June 21, 2006

Ah I see.

Well if you like and the above suggestions aren't an option for you I could call again.

Email is in my profile if you wanna give me more info like how long you have been on them, who prescribed you them...

(personally I really don't see why it should bother them, I doubt it affects your blood but then IANAD or anything...)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 4:51 AM on June 21, 2006

I was once rejected as a blood donor (in Spain) because I was taking prescription antihistamines. Apparently they don't want any medication in the blood at all. I assume this is to cover themselves legally. YMMV.
posted by sic at 5:04 AM on June 21, 2006

Response by poster: Well, Clarissa has rung them again on my behalf. The answer is that they don't want my blood. Apparently it's both the medication and the condition.
posted by talitha_kumi at 7:52 AM on June 21, 2006

It depends on the drug. The problem is that a pint of your blood will contain quite a significant amount of the drug you've taken, which could affect the patient it's been given to.

They won't take your blood if you've taken aspirin in the last three days, because aspirin is a blood thinner and can cause bleeding in post-surgical patients.

I can believe that they don't want antihistamines; lots of side effects that they just don't want to deal with.

But some kinds of drugs are not a problem, so the only real answer is to ask.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:54 AM on June 21, 2006

If you can't donate blood maybe you can donate platelets. I learned from a phlebotamist today that platelets are precious in the hospital because they can only be kept a few days and are expensive. She strongly encouraged me to start donating platelets. (I'm in the US). Fun fact: normally platelets are yellow, but if you're on estrogen replacement, they're lime green.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:16 AM on June 21, 2006

In America they will take your blood if it has Celexa in it. Celexa is an SSRI sorta like Paxil.

Now they won't take my blood because it has too much Tracleer in it.
posted by faceonmars at 10:56 PM on June 21, 2006

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