Dr. Keith Roach

Dear Dr. Roach: When my mother discovered she has a factor V mutation, everyone in the family decided to be tested as a precaution. This is a hereditary item, which I am sure you know. It was determined that I carry the gene. I am 65. I have had no issues, and it probably never would have been discovered if we did not go looking for it. This was discovered over 10 years ago and is listed on all my charts. I would like to donate plasma for extra money. I am not on any type of blood thinners except for a baby aspirin every morning. I take a statin for cholesterol control. Can I donate my plasma?

-- S.S.

A: Factor V is a blood clotting factor made in the liver. A common mutation in the gene, called factor V Leiden, confers a small increased risk to developing blood clots. People with factor V Leiden and who have never had a blood clot are generally not started on medication to prevent one; however, they may need more aggressive prophylactic treatment to prevent clot at a time of surgery, for example. Although some experts use aspirin in this situation, there is not good evidence to support it.

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People with factor V Leiden may donate blood, platelets or plasma safely, as long as they are not on an anticoagulant such as warfarin.

Only a very few medicines prevent people from donating blood. In addition to anticoagulants, these include medicines that can cause serious birth defects (such as Accutane, used for acne; finasteride and dutasteride, used for prostate enlargement and baldness; and Aubagio, a treatment for multiple sclerosis) and those which might cause infection risk (human-derived growth hormone).

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Dr. Keith Roach writes for North America Syndicate. Send letters to 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.


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