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What should you do before a spinal tap?

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Before a spinal tap:

  • Tell your doctor about any medications you take, including over-the counter and prescription drugs. Also tell your doctor if you're allergic to any medicine. Do not stop taking your medications without talking with your primary doctor and the doctor who orders the spinal tap.
  • Tell your doctor if you're pregnant (or think you might be), or if you have diabetes.
  • Do not take any blood thinners -- like clopidogrel (Plavix), dipyridamole (Persantine), or warfarin (Coumadin) -- within 72 hours before the test.
  • Do not take aspirin or any products that have it within one week before the test.
  • Ask your doctor about alcohol use before the test. Generally, you should not drink any beer, wine, or liquor for at least 24 hours beforehand.
  • Make arrangements for someone to take you home when it’s over. You should not drive right after the test.
  • Do not bring valuables such as jewelry or credit cards.
  • You'll need to give verbal and written consent for the spinal tap. Be sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have before you give consent. For example, you may want to know about the steps of the procedure and its risks and benefits.

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Prepare for a Procedure: Lumbar Puncture.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF).”

Mayo Clinic. “Migraine: Diagnosis.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on August 29, 2018

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Prepare for a Procedure: Lumbar Puncture.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF).”

Mayo Clinic. “Migraine: Diagnosis.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on August 29, 2018

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