Taking medications

Questions

 

What medicines should I stop or take prior to having surgery?

As a general rule you should take your usual morning medications with a sip of water on the morning of the operation unless instructed otherwise by the anaesthetist.
It is important to cease some medicines prior to surgery, including blood-thinning drugs, also known as anti-platelet drugs (aspirin and clopidogrel), and anticoagulants such as warfarin. If a heart specialist has prescribed them, then he or she should review you prior to surgery or at least be notified that you are having surgery. The decision about ceasing medications should be made primarily by the prescribing doctor in consultation with the anaesthetist. It is vital that you do not stop taking these medications without specific instructions on when to stop and restart them and whether any other drugs such as clexane in the case of warfarin cessation needs to be taken in the period that these drugs are stopped.
Other medicines that must be adjusted or stopped include those for diabetes. These include various types of insulin or medicines taken by mouth to lower blood-sugar level including metformin (DiaforminR, DiabexR) and glicalizide (DiamicronR). Seek instructions from your anaesthetist or diabetes specialist as to when to stop and resume taking these medicines prior to surgery. This will depend on whether you have type 1 (insulin dependent) or type 2 diabetes (non insulin-dependent diabetes).  The timing of your surgery and your blood glucose is controlled.

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