JPAC Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee

Autoimmune Disease


Must not donate if:

a) The donor has needed treatment to suppress the condition in the last 12 months.

b) The cardiovascular system is involved.

c) The donor has ongoing lung disease or renal impairment due to their condition.


a) If the donor:

  • has been established on a stable maintenance treatment for an Autoimmune Disease with only one of the following drugs: Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine, Hydroxychloroquine or Azathioprine, and
  • the dose of the drug has not increased in the previous 6 months, and
  • the donor is well,


b) If there is any uncertainty about the diagnosis or the nature of treatment, refer to a DCSO.


Is there a specific A-Z index entry for the condition you are assessing?

See if Relevant

Cardiovascular Disease
Disabled Donor
Drug Index - preparations which may affect platelet function
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Liver Disease
Monoclonal antibody therapy and other Biological Modalities
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Skin Disease
Steroid Therapy
Thrombosis and Thrombophilia 
Trying to Conceive

If treated with transfusion, immunoglobulin, plasma exchange or filtration:

Additional Information

Conventional systemic Disease Modifying Antirheumatic drugs (csDMARDS) are viewed as disease-modifying drugs. They include Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine, Hydroxychloroquine and Azathioprine. Sulfasalazine and Hydroxychloroquine have limited effect on the immune system. If used for maintenance treatment, Methotrexate and Azathioprine are usually given at lower doses which do not cause a significant degree of immunosuppression.

If the donor is taking higher dose Methotrexate or Azathioprine, they should not be accepted. If there is uncertainty about the dose refer to the DCSO for assessment. Further information on these drugs and immunosuppression can be found in ‘The Green Book: Immunisation against Infectious Disease’ (available at

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs do not suppress the donor's immune system.

Physical therapies such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are not considered treatments to suppress the condition.

Autoimmune disease can cause problems such as infertility and thrombosis (antiphospholipid or Hughes' syndrome).

Some autoimmune conditions can permanently damage the cardiovascular system. If this is known to have happened, the person should not donate as they are more likely to have a serious adverse event.

Reason for change

The acceptance criteria for donors taking csDMARDS has been clarified and extended. The See if Relevant section has been expanded.

Donor Information

If you wish to obtain more information regarding a personal medical issue please contact your National Help Line.

Please do not contact this web site for personal medical queries, as we are not in a position to provide individual answers.

Update Information

This entry was last updated in:
WB-DSG Edition 203 Release 71