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Blood Service 'clears up' pimple problem

  • More than 6000 Australians can now become donors while taking acne medication

  • More than 6000 Australians can now become donors while taking acne medication
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More than 6000 Australians can now become blood donors while taking acne medication, in a move expected to provide a boost to Australia’s red-cell stocks.

“This is great news for teenagers aged 16 and up who want to start donating blood,” said Blood Service spokesman, Shaun Inguanzo.

“We’re hoping the thousands we’ve previously had to turn away until off their medication will now return to help save lives.” 

The medications now permitted are the antibiotics doxycycline, minocycline, and erythromycin.

The changes were made following an Australian Red Cross Blood Service review and subsequent approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Mr Inguanzo said the review was conducted in partnership with external specialists and looked at new research since the rule was originally imposed.

“The new literature showed that there was no risk to blood recipients from the acne bacteria or the specified antibiotics, providing the person was suffering only a mild skin condition,” he said.

A mild skin condition is defined by the Blood Service as 10 or less inflamed pimples on the face.

Previously, as many as 6400 donors were affected by this rule, meaning they could only give plasma or had to wait until their skin cleared up and they were off the medication to give whole-blood.

Mr Inguanzo said a whole-blood donation occurred when the blood was taken without any separation of the individual blood components. It is the easiest donation to make, and the only one that includes red cells.

“Red cells are valuable because they are used to treat people with anaemia or who have experienced severe blood loss, such as road trauma and emergency surgery,” he said.

Mr Inguanzo said the Blood Service was now in the process of contacting donors it had previously turned away to notify them of the changes.

People can generally give blood if they are aged between 16 and 70 and feel fit and healthy.

Make an online appointment or call 13 14 95.

For images or further information please contact:   Shaun Inguanzo : 0458005774