Official guidance released for COVID-19 patients with IBD


The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) published new guidance on Friday for gastroenterologists treating novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which may include stopping medications, according to the recommendations published in the journal Gastroenterology.

COVID-19 patients with IBD have concerns for their risk for infection and management of their medical therapies. The clinical practice update incorporates the emerging understanding of COVID-19 and summarizes available guidance for patients with IBD and the providers who take care of them.

Patients with IBD should continue therapies, including scheduled infusions, the researchers said. Having IBD does not appear to increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or the development of COVID-19.

For patients with IBD who develop COVID-19, practitioners are instructed to stop medications including thiopurines, methotrexate, and tofacitinib and stop biological therapies including anti-TNF, ustekinumab, and vedolizumab. Practitioners can work with patients to restart therapies after complete resolution of COVID-19 symptoms. Patients should always speak with their healthcare provider before stopping medications, the authors said.

Practitioners are also encouraged to submit cases of IBD and confirmed COVID-19 to the Surveillance Epidemiology of Coronavirus Research Exclusion (SECURE) IBD Database, a registry to monitor and report outcomes of COVID-19 occurring in IBD patients. Click here for more information.

Editor’s note: Click here for more information and ongoing COVID-19 updates for integrative healthcare professionals.