Immune suppressing drugs not linked to increase in risks from COVID-19 UCLH Biomedical Research Centre

Outside the UK, follow guidance for Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland. It’s important to look after your mental health right now, whether you’ve had coronavirus or not. Think about ways to keep your stress levels down, what you can control and how being prepared can be a great help. The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI) released guidance about who should get a vaccine, and when for the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations.

It was developed initially to stop rejection of transplanted organs, such as kidneys, although it is now used to treat a wide range of illnesses. It works by suppressing the body’s own defence system (the immune system), either by itself or in combination with other drugs. Azathioprine is not a steroid and is considered to be safer in the long-term than steroid tablets.

Help with your mental health and wellbeing

Non-live vaccines, like the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, the injected flu vaccine or the Shingrix shingles vaccine, are safe to have while you’re taking prednisolone. Your doctor or pharmacist will assess your risk of adrenal insufficiency based on the type and dose of steroids you’re taking, and may recommend that you carry an emergency steroid card (red card). The card is the size of a credit card and fits in your wallet or purse. For most people, steroid inhalers and steroid injections shouldn’t cause any bad side effects.

  • In March 2020, we created a list of people we believed to be at highest risk of becoming severely ill if they caught COVID-19.
  • People with liver disease are more vulnerable to infection and to poor health overall, so smoking or exposure to passive smoking is not advisable.
  • For more details about each of the individual disease modifying drugs see the section on disease modifying drugs.
  • A vaccine is the most effective way to prevent infection and that’s why we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine when you’re offered it.
  • It’s more likely to happen the first or second time you have the drug.

Read our information about making decisions about different risks and coping with uncertainty and talk to your doctor for personal advice. It’s hard to piece all of this evidence together, to form an individual assessment for one person. But it is something you can talk to your healthcare team about, you can talk to us about it, or you can talk to other people with blood cancer.

The immune system and cancer

If any of your LFD tests are positive, you are symptomatic and you have reported the result, the NHS should contact you about treatment. You may have been made aware that you are potentially eligible for COVID-19 treatments by a letter or email from NHS England or from your consultant. If you have not been contacted and you think you should have been, your consultant will be able to confirm if you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments. Consider wearing a well-fitting face covering in crowded public spaces.

You can check out the latest advice regarding immunosuppressent drugs from the British Association of Dermatologists here. If it is now more than 8 weeks from your second dose, please arrange to have your extra (third) dose soon as possible. Your GP will be in contact with your specialist and the NHS will let you know when and where to have the vaccine.

The immuno-suppressant effect to believed to last up to several weeks after the injection although this is believed to vary from person to person (Hackett et al 2020). Although there is a lack of clear evidence to act as guidance on this matter in terms of the exact size of increase in risk there might be. We recommend patients to consider their own unique circumstances along with any additional risks factors they might have in relation to COVID-19 when deciding upon steroid injection treatment.

Lymphoma and the immune system

Contact your hospital if you have severe vomiting and cannot drink any fluids without vomiting, even if it happens at the weekend or during the night. If nausea and vomiting are affecting you, let someone in your treatment team know. Before using anti-inflammatory pain relief, ask your doctor about the correct dose, how long you should use it for and any possible side effects, especially if you have a stomach ulcer or asthma. Permanent hair loss is described as incomplete regrowth of hair six months or more after completing treatment.

Some people with MS may be at higher risk of more serious illness with Covid-19. Stay up-to-date with the latest lymphoma news, events, support services, campaigns and ways you can get involved – and receive our Lymphoma Matters magazine. You can read more about hypertension (high blood pressure) on the NHS website.

What if I catch Covid-19 while I’m on a DMD?

You’ll be given anti-sickness medication, as tablets or into a vein, before each cycle of chemotherapy. It can be very painful and you may need to take pain relief or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. It’s a good idea to have some of these available before starting your treatment just in case you need them.

Usually, you need to stop taking them gradually in order to reduce the risk of adrenal crisis, which can be serious. Inactivated vaccines (such as the winter flu vaccination) are considered safe for people with lymphoma; however, they might not be as effective. Effects on your mood can happen quite suddenly and improve once you stop taking steroids. Let your medical team know how you are feeling so that they can help to manage these side effects of steroids.

Further advice about face coverings can be found in guidance on living safely with respiratory infections including COVID-19. You are advised to try to avoid contact with people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory infections. A detailed description of COVID-19 symptoms can be found in guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19. If you have a severe Covid-19 infection, it’s likely your MS team will recommend stopping DMD treatment.