Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease during Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic


  • Masrul Lubis Department of Internal Medicine



Coronavirus disease-2019, Immunosuppression, Inflammatory bowel disease, Management


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammation consisted of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. IBD is a global disease with heavy economic burden. Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) is a novel disease which spread rapidly and becomes a pandemic. This pandemic situation affects the management of IBD. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 as the etiology of COVID-19 requires angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2) as its receptor. ACE2 is found to be abundant in the gastrointestinal tract, particularly the small intestine and colon. This causes the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms in COVID-19 and interacts with gastrointestinal diseases including IBD. The diagnosis of IBD in patients with COVID-19 is similar with general population with precautions regarding endoscopic procedure. IBD does not increase the risk for contracting COVID-19 nor worsen the outcome of COVID-19. The first step in managing patients with IBD during pandemic is by implicating strict health protocol. There is still a controversy regarding surgery for IBD during pandemic. Medications for IBD are safe during pandemic except systemic corticosteroids. IBD patients without COVID-19 should continue their medications until the goal of disease remission is achieved. If asymptomatic COVID-19 is present, corticosteroid dose should be lowered, tapered, and stopped if available. Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) administration should be postponed for 2 weeks. If COVID-19 manifestations exist, systemic corticosteroid, thiopurine, methotrexate, and anti-TNF should be discontinued. Supporting treatment for COVID-19 can be administered safely. In case of relapsing, the treatment of IBD must be started with the limitation of systemic corticosteroid.


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How to Cite

Lubis M. Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease during Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. Open Access Maced J Med Sci [Internet]. 2021 Jul. 20 [cited 2022 Aug. 13];9(F):219-23. Available from:



Narrative Review Article