What general advice should we be giving to our IBD patients who do NOT have COVID-19?
General advice in the following bullet points (can pull some of this for patient electronic messages if helpful):
- If you are feeling well, we recommend that you continue your medications for inflammatory bowel disease, as the risk of a flare of your disease likely outweighs the risk of contracting COVID-19. In addition, active inflammation associated with your disease is a significant risk factor for getting any infection and we also want to avoid having patients come to the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Such medications include: azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), 6-mercaptopurine (6MP, Purinethol), methotrexate, tofacitinib (Xeljanz), infliximab (Remicade, Inflectra), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi), ustekinumab (Stelara), vedolizumab (Entyvio).
- If you are on oral steroids, including prednisone or budesonide (Entocort, Uceris) we would recommend discussing with your primary gastroenterologist if it is possible to taper or discontinue these medications.
- Would follow all “at risk” patient guidance from the CDC if on any immunosuppression. It is important for patients on the medications listed above to maintain good social distancing (avoid crowds, limit public transit, no shaking hands, etc.) and avoid any unnecessary travel. If living with someone else, can consider having most shopping for essential items done by non-elderly household members with no medical conditions. Although not possible for all, we would recommend seeing if it is feasible to work from home or do schooling from home.
- The best way to prevent COVID-19 remains good hand hygiene. This includes washing hand multiple times a day (especially before eating and after going to bathroom) with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- This is a rapidly evolving situation so we recommend regularly checking the CDC website for updates.
- If you feel sick, please contact us so that we can guide decisions on stopping medications and when to seek in-person care.