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Answers tagged covid-19: Page 1 of 1

Shawna from Edmonton asks: Do you recommend the anti-viral treatments for COVID?

The available treatments for COVID are ever changing.  We try to keep our recommendations up to date on this site here.  As a general statement, most patients under care of a rheumatologist are eligible for anti-viral treatment for acute COVID infections, and most rheumatologists would support this.  If there is ever any doubt, contact your rheumatologist ASAP if you believe you have a COVID infection.  A PCR test is also highly recommended in this case, not just the at home Rapid tests.  Most patients with rheumatic disease remain eligible for PCR testing.


Emma from Canada asks: I received my 2 doses of the Moderna vaccine and with the first experienced a 1 week rheumatoid arthritis flare but it was manageable. After the 2nd dose, my RA took a turn for the worst & I have been in the worst flare of my life since (4 months now).  Should I still get the booster?

The best advice for anyone in this situation is to speak with your rheumatologist.  Regardless of the vaccine, a flare lasting more than a few weeks deserves a conversation with your rheumatologist to determine the best course of action going forward to get it under better control.  That said, while there is some evidence that the COVID vaccine may induce flares in a small minority of cases, most times the flare is either a side effect of the vaccine but perceived as a flare (likely what is described after the first shot) or a coincidence of association, rather than causation.  As so many people are getting COVID vaccine, it will happen that some will flare afterwards, but it is likely that many of those flares would have happened anyways.  As a general principle, 3rd (and now 4th) shots for COVID vaccine are encouraged for those with rheumatic diseases.


Hayley from Calgary asks: I have recently gotten sick and need to know if I should continue my methotrexate injections or hold them while I am sick ?

As a general rule, it’s ok to continue traditional DMARDs (examples: methotrexate, plaquenil, sulfasalazine, leflunomide) when sick, particularly anything mild without a fever or needing antibiotics.  For those on biologics, we generally recommend that they are held, particularly if you have a fever or require antibiotics, until you are feeling better.  However, during the COVID19 pandemic, we are often a little more cautious and it would be reasonable to hold any DMARD – traditional or biologic – until you are feeling better.  In most cases for methotrexate, this would mean missing one dose, which wouldn’t impact arthritis control for most individuals.


Ashley from Edmonton asks: Should I hold methotrexate before having a COVID19 shot or flu shot?

From a safety perspective, it is very safe to continue methotrexate while getting either of these vaccines.  There is some data to suggest that holding your methotrexate for 1-2 weeks AFTER the flu shot, and maybe the COVID shot, will make these vaccines work better.  Check with your rheumatologist if this is right for you, as there is a need to balance vaccine efficacy with disease control, and this balance may be different for every individual.


Raewyn from Canada asks: How does the COVID vaccine impact those with Takayasu disease or other large vessel vasculitis?

When it comes to most of the rheumatic conditions, there have been no indicators to date that the vaccines are unsafe or do harm to your underlying disease.  This would include all forms of vasculitis.  That is not to say that vaccines do not have risks, but they would be rare, and are not specific to a rheumatic disease.  The benefits of vaccine far outweigh their risks.  This is particularly the case for those with rheumatic disease, as a COVID infection could be much worse with worse outcomes if you have an active vasculitis.  Where things get more complicated is the medications used to treat our conditions, which may decrease the benefit of the vaccine.  This is why a 3rd shot of the COVID vaccine has been advocated for successfully for those on most rheumatologic treatments.


Elena from Calgary asks: Is it possible to connect with a Rheumatologist virtually? Or do appointments need to be in person?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how rheumatology visits happen.  While some patients are still being seen in person, many are being seen virtually – either through phone or video (Zoom) appointments.  Check with your rheumatologist’s office to see what they are doing, and if a virtual visit is appropriate for you.  For more information on virtual visits and how to best prepared, check out our webpage and video.


Norma from Alberta asks: I have stable lupus.  Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Please visit our COVID-19 vaccine information page, which we will keep updating as more information becomes available.  At this time (January/2021), there is no information to suggest the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe for those with lupus or taking any medications for lupus.  That applies to all rheumatic conditions, in fact. If you are still not sure after reading the available information, please contact your rheumatologist.


Many people are asking: I have rheumatoid arthritis.  Will I be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available?

As we answer this (Dec/2020), we do not fully know the answer yet.  It is a complicated question as it relates to both the safety of the vaccine, and how well it works.  Safety is really the key part, and because the technology being used to develop the COVID19 vaccines is mostly new, we do not have the experience to know for sure if it’s safe.  That said, there is currently no reason to think it won’t be safe, as they are not LIVE vaccines, which are contraindicated for many individuals with arthritis because of the medications they are on.  As we get closer to having vaccine available, we expect more data to also come out which will help inform this decision.  Stay tuned as we learn more, and check with your rheumatologist for your particular situation.

Click here to visit our COVID-19 vaccine information page, which we will keep up to date, or our YouTube site with COVID-19 information videos.


Jonathan from Calgary asks: Is there any specific advice recommended for rheumatology patients and COVID-19?

Please click here to our page on COVID-19.  We will try to keep this information up to date, but the situation remains fluid.


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