Blood donation question (declared ineligible)

I was checking at a local hospital to see if it was possible I could donate platelets for someone. However, I was turned down because I am on antiseizure medication (Phenobarbital).

I understand that there is likely a very good reason why I’m ineligible, but I’m curious as to whether:

  1. I am ineligible because they fear that if I give blood, my medication level will be thrown off and I would be prone to getting a seizure, which would be, not good, since I haven’t had any for a while.


  1. I am ineligible because the medication would still be in the blood that they are receiving and it would potentially harm a donor, who is already sick to begin with.

Or is it a little of both?

I’m thinking it’s number two. But find out how long it take to clear out of your system and decide if you can go without it for that long.

That is very bad advice and is, frankly, reckless. I don’t know what qualifications Joey P has that makes him feel confident to suggest such a thing, but, regardless don’t listen. For someone with epilepsy, stopping their antiseizure medication is most definitely not something to be done capriciously.

BTW, #2 is why.

I can’t donate blood because of a prescription medication I take, the reason given by the Red Cross is #2.

Geez, I didn’t tell him to go off his meds.
Let me rephrase that…
IANAD, but perhaps you could find out from your doctor how long it takes for the meds to clear out of your system. Then you and you’re doctor can decide if being off you’re meds for that length of time is a safe option (perhaps switching over to something else for an ‘emergency’ for the time being. Diastat comes to mind, but IANAD and that may very well not be the right med). If you and you’re doctor decide that this is a safe and viable option, call up the blood center and make sure it works for them (makes you eligible) then make an appointment donate the platlets and decide with your doctor how and when to get back on you’re regular meds. But IANAD so this might not be an option at all.

My post was a suggestion, I assume that BobT would take all neccesary precautions before going off his phenobarbital. A VERY VERY VERY quick search says phenobarbital stays in your system for 2-3 days. So what I’m suggesting is that BobT calls his doc and discusses the situation with him. The doc might say, sure you should be fine for 2-3 days without it, but here’s a script for something else just in case. In the mean time, don’t drive yourself anywhere don’t do this, don’t do that and get back on you’re regular meds as soon as you’re done (or after the lost platelets regenerate, or whetever the correct time frame is) OTOH the doc might say Nope, not an option so get it out of your head, and that will be the end of that.

Karl, I wouldn’t call my ‘advice’ reckless or bad. It wasn’t advice, it was a suggestion, so I guess now I just clarifying.
My advice is that if BobT wants to donate platelets, then BobT should go to his doctor and discuss it with him. My suggestion is just one of the options he may chose to bring up with his doctor during that conversation.

For the record, I don’t think the exigency of donating platelets to someone else outweighs my desire to not go off my meds. My meds are vitally important to me. They let me do things like drive a car and generally function in society and keep me from hurting myself.

I don’t think my doctor would let me go off of my meds unless I was seizure free for several years and then passed a series of tests. And then I would be tapered off. I was told that going off suddenly was very bad. I was off the meds for a period, but I had to go back on.

But thanks for the info. I thought it was #2. I just wanted to make sure. There’s no point in making a sick person sicker.

I’ve had epilepsy since I was sixteen(nine years). I’ve never had a problem donating blood because of the medications I was on. The criteria(in Tennessee, but I’m fairly sure these are red cross guidelines) call for a person to be seizure free for 3 months and to be stable on their medications.

I’m actually inclined to believe that you were turned away either because someone didn’t know what they were doing, or because they were concerned about your first point. Phenobarbitol in itself should not disqualify you.


It seems that the rules aren’t hard and fast. But the person who told me no this week was not the first person to do so. I’ve been told no many times by many different blood bank workers.

Since this isn’t a life or death situation for someone in my immediate family, I’m not going to fight it.