The rules for blood donation have recently changed and whereas lupus patients were previously automatically ruled out from giving blood, some patients are now allowed to donate.
This is the current information from NHS Blood and Transplant:
Changes have been made to the guidelines and lupus falls under auto-immune conditions. However, volunteer donors with a diagnosis of lupus are encouraged to call the helpline first on 0300 123 23 23 as some symptoms, however mild, may require a deferral.
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.
Treatment to suppress the condition may be with monoclonal antibodies (e.g. Adalimumab (Humira), Etanercept (Enbrel), Infliximab (Remicade), Rituximab (Mab Thera) etc), steroids, immunosuppressive drugs, antimetabolites, as well as other therapies such as PUVA (psoralen plus ultraviolet A). These will affect the donor's immune system. This may make the donor more susceptible to certain types of infection and also will make some infections more difficult to diagnose.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine and Hydroxychloroquine are treatments which do not affect the donor’s immune system in this way. If Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine and Hydroxychloroquine are used as maintenance treatment for a condition and a donor fits the rest of the criteria they may be accepted.
Physical therapies such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are not considered treatments to suppress the condition.
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.
*** If you are in any doubt about giving blood please call 0300 123 23 23 for advice.