Medicine use before surgery

Certain medicines can cause problems (complications) with your surgery unless you stop taking them before surgery.

Talk with your health care provider about all of the medicines you take (including prescription medicines such as diabetes medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbals, vitamins or other supplements) at least 10 days before surgery. Make sure to ask him or her for instructions if you take a combination medicine. Then use the worksheet on the next page to write down medicines you need to continue or stop taking before surgery.

Medicines to keep taking before surgery

If you take any of the medicines on the following list, take your morning dose with a small sip of water before you go to the hospital.

  • beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin®), carvedilol (Coreg®) or metoprolol (Lopressor®)
  • any heart medicine such as anti-arrhythmics or calcium channel blockers like diltiazem (Cardizem®, Dilacor XR®), verapamil (Calan®, Isoptin®, Verelan®) or amlodipine (Norvasc®)
  • asthma medicine (including an inhaler, steroids or both)
  • acid reflux medicine
  • pain medicine if needed
  • seizure medicine

Follow any instructions your health care provider gives you.

Medicines to stop taking before surgery

It is important that you stop taking the following medicines 1 week before surgery or as directed by your health care provider.

  • aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin
  • blood-thinning medicines such as warfarin (Coumadin® or Jantoven®)
  • anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®)

Follow any instructions your health care provider gives you.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Knee Replacement, seventh edition, ortho-ah-90140
First Published: 10/01/2000
Last Reviewed: 02/01/2020

Important

Tell your health care team which medicines you took the morning of surgery and what time you took them.