Bethesda, MD—Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who contract COVID-19 infection should temporarily discontinue some medications, according to a new statement from the American Gastroenterological Association.

The group recently provided new COVID-19 guidance for gastroenterologists treating patients with chronic immune disorders, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. About 3.1 million patients have IBD in the United States.

The article will appear in the journal Gastroenterology

“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,” according to the AGA.

The recommendations advise that patients with IBD should continue their medication regimens, including scheduled infusions, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The specialty group states that having IBD does not appear to increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or the development of COVID-19.

If patients with IBD develop COVID-19, usually including fever, respiratory symptoms, digestive symptoms and others, they should stop taking some medications after consultation with their gastroenterologists or other healthcare providers. Drugs to be temporarily discontinued include thiopurines, methotrexate, and tofacitinib, as well as biological therapies including anti-TNFs ustekinumab and vedolizumab.

Some drugs don’t need to be stopped, however. “In regard to the IBD therapies, aminosalicylates, topical rectal therapy, dietary management, and antibiotics are considered safe and may be continued,” according to the authors. “Oral budesonide is likely safe as well and can continue if it is needed for ongoing control of the IBD.”

On the other hand, the document cautioned, “Systemic corticosteroids should be avoided and discontinued quickly, if possible, with appropriate caution if there is a concern for adrenal insufficiency from chronic corticosteroid use.”

The AGA notes that patients can restart all therapies after complete resolution of COVID-19 symptoms. The document also asks that all cases of IBD and confirmed COVID-19 should be submitted to the SECURE-IBD registry at

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