Today, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) published new COVID-19 guidance for gastroenterologists treating patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): AGA Clinical Practice Update on Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Expert Commentary.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is a global health emergency, patients with IBD have particular concerns for their risk for infection and management of their medical therapies. This 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.
Recommendations for gastroenterologists & their patients who have IBD:
1. During this pandemic, patients with IBD should continue IBD therapies including scheduled infusions.
2. Having IBD does not appear to increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or the development of COVID-19.
3. Instructions for patients with IBD who develop COVID-19 (fever, respiratory symptoms, digestive symptoms, etc.):
a. Stop thiopurines, methotrexate, tofacitinib.
b. Stop biological therapies (including anti-TNF, ustekinumab, vedolizumab).
c. Can restart therapies after complete resolution of COVID-19 symptoms. Patients should always speak with their health care team before stopping any medication.
4. Doctors should submit cases of IBD and confirmed COVID-19 to the SECURE-IBD registry at COVIDIBD.org.