Medications to Avoid for GI Endoscopy Procedures
Upper Endoscopy and Colonoscopy
- Some medications (prescription and over-the-counter) can
reduce your body’s ability to form blood clots and taking
these before GI endoscopy procedures may increase your risk
of bleeding during and after these tests. For this reason,
it is generally recommended to withhold certain drugs if you
are scheduled to have one of these procedures performed.
These are sometimes referred to as blood thinners.
- The decision about whether to stop any medication is
always based on an estimate of the risk of having a
significant medical problem during the short time that you
are off of them compared to the risk of bleeding
complications from the procedure you are to undergo.
- For medications used to treat arthritis (regular dose
aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also
known as NSAIDs), there is little or no risk to stopping
these, but you may have more arthritis pain or swelling.
They are usually stopped for four (4) days prior to
any procedure. It is safe to take acetaminophen
(Tylenol) before an endoscopy for arthritis pain or
- For aspirin (81 or 325 mg daily) used to prevent heart
problems, this is usually safe to stop for seven (7) days
prior to any procedure. If you have severe heart problems
you may need to consult with your heart specialist to
determine if it is safe to stop it.
- For anti-platelet drugs it is usually important
to speak with your heart doctor, vascular surgery
specialist, neurologist or primary physician to determine if
these are safe to stop. These are usually stopped for
seven (7) days prior to any procedure.
- For anti-coagulant drugs it is almost always
important to consult with the prescribing physician to
determine if it is safe to stop them and for how long. For
most people who are taking Coumadin (Warfarin) for
chronic heart rhythm problems (like atrial fibrillation) it
is usually safe to stop it for four (4) days prior to the
procedure. However they may be special circumstances
where the medication is not stopped or other medications are
used to prevent clotting after it is stopped. You should get
specific advice from your doctor on how to handle this.
Below is a list of many medications (but not all) that fall
into these categories. It is important to remember that there
are hundreds of over-the-counter medications that contain NSAIDs
or aspirin, so it is important to carefully read the label of
any medication that you are taking (prescription or
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications – NSAIDs (generic
name in italics):
Diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren, Arthrotec)
Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Motrin IB, Nuprin)
Mefenamic Acid (Ponstel)
Naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox, Aleve)
Salicylates (sodium salicylate, Magan, Mobidin, Mobogesic,
Arthritab, Bayer Select, Doan’s pills)
Salsalate (Amigesic, Marthritic, Salflex, Slasitab)
Aspirin (present in many medications)
Low Molecular Weight Heparins (Fragmin, Lovenox, Danaparoid)