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

Steroid Therapy


Must not donate if:

a) Taking steroid tablets, injections, or enemas, or applying creams over large areas for periods of more than three weeks in the last six months.

b) Less than seven days after completing a course of oral or injected steroids for asthma, other disorders associated with allergy or a musculoskeletal condition.

c) A donor has needed long term (six months or more) treatment within the last 12 months.


a) If occasional use of creams over small areas of skin for minor skin complaints, accept.

b) If using steroid inhalers for prophylaxis, accept.

c) If using steroid eye drops, nasal spray or ear drops for control of allergic symptoms, accept.

d) If more than seven days from completing a course of intramuscular, periarticular or intra-articular injected steroids for a musculoskeletal condition, accept unless the musculoskeletal condition itself would lead to deferral.

See if Relevant

Adrenal Failure
Autoimmune Disease
Skin Disease

Additional Information

A large area of skin is defined as >9% (Wallace Rule of Nines). 1% is equal to the area of the closed digits and palm of the donor's hand.

Steroid therapy in high doses causes immunosuppression. This may mask infective and inflammatory conditions that would otherwise prevent donation.

Some individuals have to take replacement steroid hormones because they do not produce enough themselves. The dose of these must be increased during times of stress. It is considered that taking blood from people who need replacement therapy may put them at unnecessary risk.

Long term steroid therapy may cause temporary adrenal dysfunction. Waiting 12 months from the last dose allows time for the adrenal glands to recover.

Reason for change

The text has been updated to ensure consistency with other DSG references to immunosuppression. The see if relevant section has been revised.

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