Taking your biologics has more pros than cons during the pandemic.
If you have psoriatic arthritis (PsA), you may be taking medicines like biologics. You may know these generally alter the way your immune system works, so it’s natural to be concerned about how this affects your COVID-19 risk. For this reason, experts have recommendations for managing your psoriatic arthritis medicine during COVID-19.
It is still early into the pandemic and there’s a lot left to learn, but early research is promising. Your biologics might have more benefits than risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Biologics Work
Biologics for psoriatic arthritis target the immune system. They block specific proteins or immune cells that fuel PsA activity. This reduces symptoms (like joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue) and helps prevent joint damage in the long run.
Biologics *can* increase the risk of certain infections. That’s why it’s important to know your risk level for COVID-19.
Are You at Risk?
The available data suggest that immune-altering treatments for PsA do *not* significantly increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Therefore, at this time, they do not appear to increase the risk of complications from COVID-19.
More importantly, early evidence suggests that the bigger risk might be not having your PsA under control. For this reason, keeping up with your PsA treatment regimen is actually crucial and beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Generally speaking, experts recommend continuing to take your biologics and oral therapies for PsA. Ultimately, this should be a shared decision between you and your doctor. You may have unique factors that require a different approach.
A Note on Steroids
There’s one exception here: The role of corticosteroids in COVID-19 is still controversial. Notably, corticosteroids are not recommended for long-term treatment of PsA anyway. Talk to your physician to see if you should add, adjust, or taper off your corticosteroids.
Staying Connected During the Pandemic
It might feel challenging during the pandemic to stay on top of your prescriptions and doctor appointments. Depending on your risk factors and where you live, you might be self-isolating at home.
Consider using telehealth to keep up with your treatment. With telehealth, you can have virtual follow-ups with your doctor and receive prescription refills while staying safe at home. This can also help you stay stocked with your PsA medicines—biologics and otherwise—which is crucial during the pandemic.
If you’re concerned about managing psoriatic arthritis medications during COVID-19, or about managing your COVID-19 risk, talk to your doctor. They can help you make a personalized plan to maintain your best health.
- Biologics. National Psoriasis Foundation. (Accessed on September 15, 2020)
- Coronavirus and arthritis: what you need to know. Arthritis Foundation. (Accessed on September 15, 2020)
- COVID-19 FAQs: medications, treatment and vaccines. Arthritis Foundation. (Accessed on September 15, 2020)
- COVID-19 Task Force guidance statements. National Psoriasis Foundation. (Accessed on September 15, 2020)
- Treatment of psoriatic arthritis. Waltham, MA: UpToDate, 2020. (Accessed on September 15, 2020)