Recent Blog Articles
Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally
Give praise to the elbow: A bending, twisting marvel
Sneezy and dopey? Seasonal allergies and your brain
The FDA relaxes restrictions on blood donation
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Swimming and skin: What to know if a child has eczema
A muscle-building obsession in boys: What to know and do
Natural disasters strike everywhere: Ways to help protect your health
Dementia: Coping with common, sometimes distressing behaviors
Screening tests may save lives — so when is it time to stop?
Managing your medications before a medical procedure
You may need to stop taking blood thinners, certain painkillers, herbs, and supplements to reduce your risk for bleeding.
Image: © Steve Debenport/Getty Images
No one wants to have surgery, even minor surgery, but sometimes minor procedures, such as a tooth extraction or a colonoscopy, are unavoidable. When that happens, you may hear that it's important to stop taking certain medications. Understanding exactly which drugs to suspend — and when — can be confusing. "I get a lot of questions about this," says Joanne Doyle Petrongolo, a pharmacist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
All surgery involves cutting body tissue, and that leads to bleeding. Blood thinners—medications like anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs—can boost the risk for bleeding by keeping the blood from clotting.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!