New Guidelines Issued on Treating IBD Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Guidelines Issued on Treating IBD Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic
Leading experts have drafted new guidelines to aid gastroenterologists in the management of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) press release. The guidance, “AGA Clinical Practice Update on Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Expert Commentary” was published in the journal Gastroenterology. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health emergency, and patients with IBD are particularly concerned about their risk of infection as they are often prescribed immunosuppressive or immune-modifying therapies to control the chronic inflammation that characterizes IBD. Some of these therapies can increase the risk for viral infections. Moreover, the use of medical facilities by IBD patients also poses an additional risk for infection. Nonetheless, despite the potential for an increased risk, the limited available data indicates “that patients with IBD do not appear to have a baseline increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 or development of COVID-19,” the researchers wrote. It remains unclear if gut inflammation in IBD is a risk factor for infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, experts recommend that “patients with IBD should maintain [disease] remission in order to reduce the risk of relapse and need for more intense medical therapy or hospitalization.” IBD patients' most frequent question is linked to what they should do concerning their therapeutic regimen during the pandemic, especially for those suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19. Since the data available so far is limited, the experts drafted personalized recommendations according to whether IBD patients are
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