con·​tra·​in·​di·​ca·​tion ˌkän-trə-ˌin-də-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce contraindication (audio)
: something (such as a symptom or condition) that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable

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For doctors, an indication is a symptom or circumstance that makes a particular medical treatment desirable. Serious anxiety, for example, is often an indication for prescribing a tranquilizer. A contraindication, then, is a symptom or condition that makes a treatment risky, such as taking certain other medications at the same time. Drugs and conditions that are contraindicated for a medication are listed on its label, and reeled off at high speed in TV ads. Patients can guard against the dangers of drug interaction by reading labels carefully and making sure their doctors know what else they're currently taking.

Examples of contraindication in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Safety Profile: Assess the safety of the alternative medication by reviewing its side effect profile, contraindications, and interactions with other drugs. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 12 Sep. 2023 Progestin-only pills, sometimes called mini-pills, have very few contraindications, meaning there are few medical circumstances when taking them would be ill-advised. Politifact Staff Writer, Dallas News, 21 July 2023 The International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics also lists sepsis (a life-threatening body-wide infection) as a contraindication for epidural anesthesia. Kristi Pahr, Parents, 8 Sep. 2023 The main contraindications for the recombinant shingles vaccine is a history of anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine’s ingredients, Gitig said. Laura Hensley, Verywell Health, 31 Aug. 2023 Consult with your vet to ensure there are no contraindications between the medications and CBD oil. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 30 Aug. 2023 The ability to identify contraindications and formulate appropriate treatment strategies may only be possible through a thorough examination by a skilled chiropractor. Maria Williams, USA TODAY, 15 Aug. 2023 Your veterinarian can guide you on the appropriate dosage, potential interactions with other medications, and any contraindications to be aware of. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 23 July 2023 Making the pills over the counter won’t increase the risk of someone with contraindications taking them. Christine Dehlendorf, Scientific American, 13 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contraindication.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1623, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contraindication was in 1623

Dictionary Entries Near contraindication

Cite this Entry

“Contraindication.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


con·​tra·​in·​di·​ca·​tion -ˌin-də-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce contraindication (audio)
: something (as a symptom or condition) that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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