Many individuals with IBD have weakened immune systems and therefore are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. The CDC recommends that individuals in high-risk groups avoid attending public events with greater than 10 people, in addition to following general CDC recommendations such as frequent hand washing and avoiding touching one's face.
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/Biosimilarsincluding 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 listingof anti-TNFs and other biologic therapies):
- Do not stop taking these medications.
- Talk to your healthcare provider before making any adjustments to these medications.