Donor Blood Found to Contain Xanax, Caffeine, and Cough Medicine

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I want to just begin by saying that receiving any of these things through a blood transfusion wouldn’t be problematic for most people, so it shouldn’t put you off receiving or giving blood.

That said, the results of this Oregon State University study does offer some pretty interesting insights into what’s keeping many people in our country on their feet.


Researchers sifted through 18 batches of scanned human blood and, using a mass spectrometer, learned the samples were laced with all kinds of drugs.

In fact, every single one of the samples contained caffeine.


Many of the others contained Xanax, over-the-counter cough medicine, or a medication for type 2 diabetes – and though the sample size is small, the director of the Oregon State study speculates it could be indicative of a widespread trend.

“We can only speculate on how widespread the problem is. Another thing to consider if that we found drugs that we just happened to be looking for in doing the drug interaction assay validation – how many others are in there too that we weren’t looking for?”

Still, they stress that the contamination wouldn’t be an issue for the majority of people in need of donor blood.


“From a ‘contamination’ standpoint, caffeine is not a big worry for patients, though it may be a commentary on current society,” explains Luying Chen, a PhD student who was part of the group. “But the other drugs being in there could be an issue for patients, as well as posing a problem for those of us doing this type of research because it’s hard to get clean blood samples.”

So coffee drinkers: you should continue to give blood when and where you can – even if you’ve just chugged a venti coffee on your way there.

It’s a good deed, and no one wants you to fall asleep at the wheel on the way there.