Advice for IBD patients - COVID-19

Many of us are concerned about the new coronavirus pandemic. For people with ongoing health issues, it may be particularly frightening.

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (USA) has put information on their website about specific concerns that people with IBD may have.

The full information can be found here.

The guidelines on medications are copied below - PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A USA-WEBSITE, I will update this with NZ information when it is available:

Updates and recommendations on IBD medications

  • STAY ON YOUR IBD MEDICATIONS. Inflammation due to IBD can lead to complications and damage to your intestinal tract. Your medications aim to keep this inflammation under control. Always talk to your doctor about your treatment plan if you have concerns or questions.
  • If you are taking a mesalamine (Asacol®, Apriso™, Canasa®, Delzicol™, Lialda™, Pentasa®, Rowasa®) or other aminosalicylates, these are all safe and are not immune suppressant medications.
  • While taking these medications, you do not need to take extra precautions beyond CDC recommendations regarding proper hygiene (see What IBD patients should know about the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) .
  • If you are taking steroids (prednisone/prednisolone) for any reason, be sure to take extra precautions by following the CDC’s recommendations for risk reduction and talk to your healthcare provider, because steroids can suppress your immune system.
    • Please discuss with your healthcare provider options to lower your dose or get off steroids (which is always a recommendation in managing IBD).
  • Immunomodulators like thiopurines (azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, cyclosporine, methotrexate), and the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib (Xeljanz®) tend to inhibit the body’s immune response to viral infections 
    • Do not stop taking these medications. If you have concerns, talk to your provider. 
  • Biologics/Biosimilars including certolizumab pegol (Cimzia®), adalimumab (Humira®), infliximab (Remicade®), golimumab (Simponi®), infliximab-abda (Renflexis®), infliximab-dyyb (Inflectra®), infliximab-qbtx (Xifi™), ustekinumab (Stelara®), and vedolizumab (Entyvio®) are immune suppressing drugs (see our biologics factsheet for a full listing of anti-TNFs and other biologic therapies):
    • Do not stop taking these medications.
    • Talk to your healthcare provider before making any adjustments to these medications.
  • If your medication requires an infusion please do not skip these appointments. It’s important to stay on your medications and go to infusion appointments as scheduled. If you have concerns about visiting an infusion center:
    • Talk to your doctors, and discuss your concerns.
    • Schedule infusions at off-peak hours, and discuss options with the infusion center.
    • Discuss home infusion options with your doctor.
      • Check your insurance plan to see if home infusions are an option.

Reference: https://www.ioibd.org/ioibd-update-on-covid19-for-patients-with-crohns-disease-and-ulcerative-colitis/


Posted by Roslyn Kemp on 20 March 2020 | Comments

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