Preparing for a gastroscopy


If you have a gastroscopy to examine the upper part of your digestive system, please read this information carefully. You need to follow these instructions to prepare for the procedure. 

Eating and drinking

Do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the test. Your stomach must be empty. This gives the health professional doing the procedure (the endoscopist) a clear view.

You can take small sips of water up to 2 hours before your appointment.

Tell us about your medicines

Please tell us if you take anti-platelet medicines or anticoagulant medicines to prevent blood clots. Examples of these medicines are aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin, rivaroxaban, apixaban, edoxaban and dabigatran.

You also need to tell us about sedatives (calming medicines) or medicines for long-term (chronic) pain or diabetes.

Please contact us when you get your appointment letter. You might need to stop or change the medicines that you take before your procedure.

If you take medicines to reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach, you need to stop them 2 weeks before the gastroscopy. This is unless your doctor or nurse tells you otherwise. Examples of these medicines are:

  • omeprazole
  • esomeprazole
  • lanzoprazole
  • pantoprazole

You do not need to stop medicines to reduce stomach acid if your test is to monitor a long-term condition or a repeat procedure.

You can continue to take all of your other medicines as usual, unless the doctor or nurse tells you otherwise.

Arranging for someone to take you home

You might decide to have sedation. This is a medicine to make you feel sleepy (drowsy) and relaxed during the procedure.

If you have sedation, you need to arrange for a family member or friend to take you home about 1 hour after the test. This person should be at least 18 years old.

Someone needs to stay with you overnight. You cannot drive or operate any machinery for the rest of the day. You need to rest quietly at home.

Your appointment will be cancelled on the day if you want to have sedation, but have not arranged for someone to take you home.

Resource number: 2044/VER6
Last reviewed: July 2021
Next review: July 2024

Trusted Information Creator. Patient Information Forum

Contact us


If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please call 020 7188 8887.

Questions, problems or concerns

Please contact the endoscopy unit staff for advice from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.

Nurse in charge: 020 7188 7188 ext 54059

St Thomas' reception desk: 020 7188 7188 ext 54046 

In an emergency, out of hours

Out of hours means 6pm until 8am the next day and on Saturday or Sunday.

Phone 020 7188 7188 and ask to be put through to the on-call gastroenterology registrar (through an application called RotaWatch).

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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