COVID-19 susceptibility for individuals with IBD
IBD medications and COVID-19
Immunomodulating medications used for IBD have been reported to increase the risk of infections, which may include COVID-19. Specifically, immunosuppressants (azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine) and JAK inhibitors (tofacitinib) modulate the immune response, potentially affecting the course of COVID-19, although there is currently no data to support this.(2) According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, aminosalicylates (such as mesalamine) do not suppress your immune system nor raise your risk to COVID-19. A recent study by SECURE-IBD, an international database monitoring report outcomes of COVID-19 in IBD patients, found that corticosteroids are associated with adverse COVID-19 outcomes in patients with IBD, while anti-TNF medications were not associated with adverse outcomes.(3) If you are on high dose prednisone, be sure to speak with your health care team and be aware of possible side effects. Overall, experts seem to agree that you should continue taking your IBD medications because active bowel inflammation poses a greater risk for infection by COVID-19 than do these medications.(4)
For more information and to keep up with the latest research from the SECURE-IBD database, you can reference their website.
For more information on IBD & COVID-19, check out the following sources:
IBD & Coronavirus from CCFA
IBD Patient Guidance from John Hopkins:
- Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. What IBD patients need to know about COVID-19. (2020).
- Neurath, M. F. COVID-19 and immunomodulation in IBD. Gut 69, 1335–1342 (2020).
- Brenner, E. J. et al. Corticosteroids, But Not TNF Antagonists, Are Associated With Adverse COVID-19 Outcomes in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Results From an International Registry. Gastroenterology 159, 481-491.e3 (2020).
- Kelly, R. IBD Patient Guidance: COVID-19. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/inflammatory_bowel_disease_center/covid-19-guidance.html.
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