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Patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy are not at increased risk of developing COVID-19

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Patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy for common skin and rheumatoid diseases such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis are not at high risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and should continue to take the drug as prescribed, Henry said. Ford Health Systems Dermatologists Journal of the American Dermatological Association.

Henry Ford dermatologist and lead author of the study, Jesse Veenstra, MD, Ph.D. Says that most of these patients are not at higher risk of COVID-19 than the general population, despite a weakened immune system. He says the findings should reassure patients and doctors alike.

If you need an immunosuppressive drug to properly control your condition, don’t be afraid to continue it during the pandemic. “

Jesse Veenstra, MD, PhD, Principal Writer and Dermatologist, Henry Ford Health System

This study is one of the first to analyze the association between immunosuppressive drugs for skin diseases and the risk and outcome of COVID-19 infection. Until recently, little was known about managing patients with these medications in a pandemic and whether weakening the immune system increased the risk of COVID-19 or related complications.

Dr. Veenstra and his research team conducted a retrospective analysis of 213 patients taking immunosuppressive drugs for immune-mediated inflammatory disease. Patients were tested for COVID-19 from February 1st to April 18th and had been on immunosuppressive drugs for at least one month before being tested for COVID-19.

Major findings from their analysis:

  • Of the 213 patients, 36% were COVID-19 positive and were less likely to be hospitalized or ventilated than in the general population.
  • There was no evidence that a single immunosuppressant would increase the odds of patients testing for the development of positive or serious illness.
  • Race is a predictor of COVID-19 status, and African Americans are more likely to test positive.
  • Patients prescribed TNF alpha inhibitors had a significantly lower probability of hospitalization. TNF alpha inhibitors are part of a class of immunosuppressive biologics used to stop inflammation.

Conversely, Dr. Veenstra states that patients on a multidrug regimen are more likely to be hospitalized than those taking a single drug. Dr. Wienstra said more research is needed to fully explain this finding, but that multiple drugs further suppress the patient’s immune system and make it more susceptible to COVID-19. It may be suggestive.

In general, immunosuppressed patients are susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold, which can cause coughing, runny nose, and sore throat. However, so far, this patient population has not been reported to be at high risk for COVID-19. Elderly people and people with underlying diseases such as cancer, COPD, and diabetes are considered to be at increased risk of being infected with the coronavirus.

“Physicians prescribing these medications should feel comfortable continuing and resuming their patients with these medications,” said Dr. Veenstra. “They can explain to patients that they have data to support the safety profile of these medications during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Henry Ford dermatologists treat one of Michigan’s largest patient populations for inflammatory skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, and lupus, and researchers say immunosuppressive drugs make patients more susceptible to the new emerging coronavirus. I’m urging you to find out if you want to.

“Traditionally, you consider these drugs to have a higher risk of infection,” says Dr. Veenstra. “With COVID, this is a new type of pathogen, and no one knows how these drugs affect the immune system’s ability to cope with infection. The problem is that these drugs are COVID. Increased the risk of getting sick and got it, do you get sick because of these drugs? “

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