Bipolar Blood Donation

After writing “Just a Thought” I was haunted by the question as to whether or not I could actually give blood. All these years I had just assumed, like the character in the story, that I was too riddled with medications to even consider the idea. But, I felt an increasing responsibility to my readers to answer this question once and for all. So, I picked up the phone and dialed the national phone line for the Canadian Blood Services this morning with a conviction to get some factual answers. I was tired of all these assumptions I had developed in my head about what was or wasn’t true about blood services and bipolar donators. The lady and I had an informative and pleasant conversation about the topic.  I was surprised at the amount of knowledge the representative on the phone had about bipolar medications. When I hung up the phone I felt a renewed conviction to set the record straight, so here is what I learned today about bipolar blood donation:

– Medications such as Anti-depressants, Mood Stabilizers, Sleeping Pills, Benzodiazepines, are all safe to ingest if you are donating blood. You can still donate blood if you are currently following a medication regime that includes these medications.

– Anti-psychotics are a little trickier, however. People prescribed the drug Zyprexa, or as commonly called Olanzapine, are not recommended to donate blood. The drug, it appears, tends to further lower the blood pressure in the recipient patient. This can be very dangerous for a patient who is already in a critical state of health. The anti-psychotic Resperdal or Risperdal was mentioned as a safe drug in relation to blood donation, but before making any donations, I would make a special mention that you are taking this drug just in case there may be any changes or developments in this area. If you are prescribed a anti-psychotic of any form I would highly recommend that you call and confirm with the Canadian Blood Services (or the equivalent agency in the United States) whether it is safe to donate while taking these medications.

Our conversation ended with the most astute piece of advice, the lady recommended that anyone intending to donate blood, who happens to be a medicated bipolar sufferer, should first phone the Canadian Blood Services Information Line before making a donation. They are extremely knowledgeable and will inform you of which medications are safe for donation and which ones are not. The representative I spoke too was pleasantly professional and didn’t seem to skip a beat when I informed her that I was a bipolar sufferer who desired information about blood donation and my medications.

Canadian Blood Services – 1-888-236-6283
American Red Cross – 1-800-GIVE LIFE

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