The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation issued guidelines for patients with IBD to protect themselves from COVID-19 such as talk with their gastroenterologist about medications, their health status and any precautions they should take related to COVID-19.
According to the guidance, patients should get information from either the CDC or their local health department websites for specific guidance for local risk and precautions within their community.
Individuals at high risk for COVID-19 should stay at home and avoid public gatherings with more than 10 people. Individuals at high risk are:
- Adults over 60 years, especially men;
- Individuals with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease (including asthma), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, endocrine and metabolic disorders, neurological, neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions;
- Individuals who are pregnant or recently pregnant; and
- Individuals with weakened immune systems, which includes those with IBD.
The guidance includes updates and recommendations for IBD medication such as: IBD patients should stay on IBD medications; mesalamine or other aminosalicylates are safe and are not immune suppressant medications; check with health care providers if you take steroids because some may suppress immune system; continue to take immunomodulators and the Jak inhibitor tofacitinib (Xeljianz); do not stop taking biologics/biosimilars and talk to your health care provider if adjustment to medications need to be made.
Recommendations from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation to prevent COVID-19 in patients with IBD
In addition, the guidance states patients on mesalamine should follow guidance from the CDC and public health departments on events and travel. It is recommended that patients on immunosuppressants and biologics/biosimilars should not travel or gather in large groups.
The guidance states patients with IBD should ask health insurance plans on policies and limitation for medication refills and supplies. To date there have been no shortages reported on medication for IBD. The FDA continues to closely monitor the medical supply chain.