Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation issues guidance on COVID-19 for patients with IBD

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.

 

Reference:

www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/coronavirus-update/adults

 

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.

 

Reference:

www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/coronavirus-update/adults

 

    Perspective
    Jessica Philpott

    Jessica Philpott

    It’s a very difficult and fluid time so the article has been helpful for us, because we are getting the same questions from many patients. It is particularly concerning for our patients because many patients with IBD are on immunosuppressive therapy. The main points are that we are advising everyone to stay on their medicine unless they are being directed by their physician to stop for any reason. We think that is important advice because if people stop their medicine, it might put them at a higher risk to flare and require steroid therapy. We believe that steroids increase the chance to have adverse outcomes with this viral infection. In addition, if they flare and they end up going to the hospital or emergency department, they may be exposed to people who are infected.

    Another important point is that we are continuing to try to reduce or stop steroids, which is always a goal for IBD patients. Right now, that’s particularly important.  I appreciate the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s website because they are clear about those recommendations and are very informative. For our patients who are on those medications, we are trying to reduce their risk for exposure as much as possible and also recommend following the CDC recommendations.

     

    • Jessica Philpott, MD, PhD
    • Gastroenterologist
      Cleveland Clinic

    Disclosures: Philpott reports she is a speaker for AbbVie. She is a board member and on the Advisory Committee of the Northeast Ohio chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.

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