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Medication and assessing your risk of coronavirus

Should I continue with my medication?

You should continue your medication as normal. At the time of writing, there is NO conclusive evidence from across the world for our patients on biologics/immunosuppressants being worse affected by Covid-19. Though data is limited, this is reassuring, given how many patients are using these medications across the world. 

If you are unwell, you should stop your medication until you feel better unless you are on steroid medication. You should never stop steroid treatment unless a doctor tells you to. 

Can I stop or reduce the dose of my medication?

We do not recommend you change your medication dose without contacting us first. Your condition may worsen if you do and there might not be much difference in your infection risk.

What is my risk?

If you are taking drugs that reduce your immune system, then you may be at higher risk of infections. These drugs include:

Steroids such as prednisolone tablets
DMARD drugs such as methotrexate, azathioprine, mycophenolate, leflunomide; (please note sulphasalazine and hydroxychloroquine are not high risk medications and therefore are not seen as a risk)
Biologic drugs such as Amgevita, Benepali (etanercept), Rituximab, Tocilizumab, Secukinumab, Abatacept
Newer JAK-inhibitor drugs such as tofacitinib, baricitinib.

Co-morbidities can also put you at increased risk. Such as age > 70, diabetes, , kidney impairment, lung disease, and high blood pressure.

Assessing your risk

If you feel you may be at very high risk or are unsure of your risk then please see this flowchart.

If you are at very high risk please see the link below which will take you to the government guidelines on shielding.

If you have been assessed as very high risk depending on a number of factors including medication taken and co-morbidities, you are advised to shield - please click on this link for details.

Information on social distancing for Rheumatology patients

Please look at the flowchart  to assess your potential risk of becoming unwell if you get coronavirus and then look at the term relevant to you.

To check you understand what we mean by certain terms:

Shielding - because you have high risk of serious illness if you get coronavirus is explained in the Government website

Self-isolation at own discretion - you are not high-risk, but there is some increased.  Self-isolate or maintain social distance as per government guidelines at your own discretion.

Standard social distancing - means following the Government’s advice for the general population

Return to rheumatology Covid-19 response page

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