American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Medication Use Before Your Operation

Your medications may have to be adjusted before your operation. Some medication can affect your recovery and response to anesthesia. Write down all of the medications you are taking. A blank medication list is provided if you need it. Make a list.

Your list should include:

  • Any prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications (such as aspirin or Tylenol)
  • Herbs, vitamins, and supplements
  • Whether you smoke and how often you drink alcohol or use other recreational drugs

Download a Medication List to fill out

Check with your doctor about:

  • When to stop taking all vitamins, herbs, and diet supplements. This could be 10–14 days before and up to 7 days after your test or operation.
  • How to take your medication on the morning of your operation. You may be instructed to take some of your medications even though you won’t be able to eat that morning. Take your medications with a sip of water only.
  • How to adjust your insulin the morning of your operation since you will not be eating. The doctor who normally manages your insulin often develops the plan for your operation.
  • If you need to adjust your medication that affects blood clotting. These drugs may be adjusted up to 7 days before your operation. Your doctor will let you know when to restart taking these drugs. (See list.)

  List of medications that affect blood clotting:*

  • Antiplatelet Medication: Anagrelide (Agrylin®), aspirin (any brand, all doses), cilostazol (Pletal®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), dipyradamole (Persantine®), dipyridamole/aspirin (Aggrenox®), enteric-coated aspirin (Ecotrin®), ticlopidine (Ticlid®)
  • Anticoagulant Medication: Anisindione (Miradon®), Arixtra, enoxaparin (Lovenox®) injection, Fragmin, heparin injection, Pradaxa, pentosan polysulfate (Elmiron®), warfarin (Coumadin®), Xerelto
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Celebrex, diclofenac (Voltaren®, Cataflam®), diflunisal (Dolobid®), etodolac (Lodine®), fenoprofen (Nalfon®), flurbiprogen (Ansaid®), ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®, Nuprin®, Rufen®), indomethacin (Indocin®), ketoprofen (Orudis®, Actron®), ketorlac (Toradol®), meclofenamate (Meclomen®), meloxican (Mobic®), nabumeton (Relafen®), naproxen (Naprosyn®, Naprelan®, Aleve®), oxaprozin (Daypro®), piroxicam (Feldene®), salsalate (Salflex®, Disalcid®), sulindac (Clinoril®), sulfinpyrazone tolmetin (Tolectin®), trilisate (salicylate combination)
  • Herbs/Vitamins: Ajoene birch bark, cayenne, Chinese black tree fungus, cumin, evening primrose oil, feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, grape seed extract, milk thistle, Omega 3 fatty acids, onion extract, St. John’s wort, tumeric, vitamins C and E

*The above list includes common medications but is not a complete list.

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This information is published to educate you about preparing for your surgical procedures. It is not intended to take the place of a discussion with a qualified surgeon who is familiar with your situation. It is important to remember that each individual is different, and the reasons and outcomes of any operation depend upon the patient’s individual condition. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is a scientific and educational organization that is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery; it was founded to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient. The ACS has endeavored to present information for prospective surgical patients based on current scientific information; there is no warranty on the timeliness, accuracy, or usefulness of this content.

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