Patient Information: Covid & Systemics


Updated March 27, 2020

You may be on a medication your dermatologist has prescribed that has an effect on your immune system and wonder what that means for COVID-19.

If you are currently taking one of these medications and do NOT display signs or symptoms of COVID and have not tested positive:

BIOLOGICS FOR PSORIASIS
At present, there is no evidence that you would be at more risk while taking a biologic medication, and thus we would not recommend that you stop your medication without discussing with your board certified dermatologist. From clinical trial data, it would appear that medications that these medications do not significantly increase the risk of viral and respiratory infections.

BIOLOGICS FOR ECZEMA
Dupilumab is a medication for atopic dermatitis and has not been shown to increase the risk of viral or respiratory infections.

BIOLOGICS FOR HIVES
Medications like Omalizumab do not suppress the immune system and would not increase the risk for viral or respiratory infections.

OTHER BIOLOGICS
Rituximab is a medication that does suppress a part of the immune system and you should speak with your certified dermatologist if you are supposed to receive this medication.

OTHER SYSTEMICS
Apremilast is a medication that has not been shown to increase risk of infections.

Thalidomide also does not appear to increase the risk of infections.

Methotrexate is a medication that has different effects at different doses and for the doses typically used in psoriasis is unlikely to increase the risk of viral infections.

Other medications like systemic steroids (prednisone), azathioprine and cyclosporine do suppress the immune system, but the risks versus the benefits of these treatments should be discussed with your dermatologist. 

If you are on one of these medications and test POSITIVE for COVID-19 you should discuss the need to discontinue or hold your medication with your dermatologist.

This is a new virus and therefore we do not have firm evidence for our recommendations but will continue to monitor the situation closely and update as needed.

It is important to note that other medications your dermatologist may have given you (for example, isotretinoin, acitretin) would not have any impact on the risk of viral infection and do not suppress your immune system.

Some Basic Advice to keep you safe with COVID-19: Do the “5”

WASH YOUR HANDS

  • wet hands with warm water
  • Apply soap
  • For at least 20 seconds, make sure to wash:
    • Palm and back of each hand
    • Between fingers
    • Thumbs
    • Under nails
    • Rinse well
  • Dry hands well with paper towel

COUGH ETIQUETTE

  • Cough into your elbow

DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE

STAY APART (at least 2m)

  • Do your part and practice social distancing

STAY HOME

  • If you have travelled or feel sick
  • Also stay home unless you must go out
Download Patient Information