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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Update on immunosuppression and coronavirus

Given the current concerns around the coronavirus, we have received several phonecalls from patients concerned about their medication. Medicines such as mesalasine (brand names include Asacol, Balsalazide, Mezavant, Salofalk, Pentasa) are all safe and can be continued. It is always a good idea to wean off steroids such as prednisolone, if this is possible. The other drugs we use to treat inflammatory bowel disease including thiopurines (mercaptopurine, azathioprine), tofacitinib (Xeljanz) and biologic drugs (Humira, Imraldi, Infliximab, Inflectra, Remicade, Simponi, Golimumab, Ustekinumab (Stelara) and Veolizumab (Entyvio)) all suppress the immune system to some extent but also all tend to stay in the body for months. Therefore stopping these will not help in the short term. At present we do not recommend stopping these medications, and certainly not without discussion with your IBD team.

At the current time, we would advise our patients on immunosuppressant drugs to consider working from home if at all possible and to limit unnecessary travel and exposure to large gatherings. The advice from the Government is changing quickly and may become more stringent in the next few days. We will update this page as and when to reflect this.

Click here to view the COVID-19 UK IBD tool for patients

Click here to view Crohn's and Colitis UK's decision tree

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