WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Oregon State University researchers who tested donor blood for transfusion have found that 70 percent of the samples contained traces of Xanax.
- Published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, the research also discovered that all 18 batches of blood samples contained caffeine.
- One of the researchers said that “caffeine is not a big worry for patients, but the other drugs being in there could be an issue for patients.”
Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) have tested 18 batches of supposedly pure human blood serum bought from a biomedical supplier using a technique called mass spectrometry. The team was trying to demonstrate a new way for looking at interactions between botanical dietary supplements and drugs.
During the research, the scientists noticed that their samples were tainted with mixture of drugs.
Published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, the research discovered 100 percent of blood samples contained caffeine, while 70 percent were found to contain alprazolam, an anti-anxiety medicine sold under the brand name Xanax; dextromethorphan, an over-the-counter cough medicine; and tolbutamide, a medication for type 2 diabetes.
The findings didn’t determine how prevalent this problem is since the sample size was relatively small. The caffeine found in the sample only confirms how people love coffee and other things caffeinated, but the drug contamination in donated blood is something else.
In a statement, Richard van Breemen, the director of OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, said: “We can only speculate on how widespread the problem is.”
“Another thing to consider is 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?”
It is not surprising to find traces of the stuff you consume in your bloodstream. However, blood containing traces of drugs could have implications for patients receiving blood transfusions since there is potential for drug interactions. But the researchers noted that the contamination shouldn’t be a concern to most people.
“From a ‘contamination’ standpoint, caffeine is not a big worry for patients, though it may be a commentary on current society,” Luying Chen, a PhD student at Oregon State, said. “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.”
The findings should not deter anyone from donating blood because more than 60 percent of the world’s countries lack sufficient blood supplies, so more donors are encouraged.
Source: IFL Science