Stopping meds for covid jab: Was anyone advised to... - NRAS


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Stopping meds for covid jab

ElizabethW profile image

Was anyone advised to temporarily stop meds when getting the covid jab? I am kind of worried about doing this since I am only in my fourth week with baricitinib, but I do want to get a good immune response. It is my second jab. I was on a TNF biologic when I took the first one. I know you can't give medical advice and I would never take it as such, but maybe some of you might want to share experiences.

23 Replies

I was told to just carry on as normal but if you're unsure ring your rheumy team 👍

I stopped and in some respects regretted it as flare was grim but I read that we all aught to stop as a recent trial demonstrated that if you maintain taking your drug your immune response is slow/sluggish

I’d phone your rheumy helpline and ask. I did remember seeing something on the Creaky Joints website re JAKs when looking for info re my own med advice. I’ve copied you part of the main para but go and have a look at the relevant section on their website re meds timing and vaccines. It’s on the main page but you have to scroll down a bit. Sorry I can’t link it to that specific article.

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Thanks, I have read that article. It contains a lot of information.

I’m glad it was helpful to you.

Yes I was advised to stop my biologic and mtx for two weeks before and after each jab- according to my nurse it was to give the jabs the best chance to work. However, I must emphasize this was back in December last year when there wasn't so much information around. Also, as I am in remission she felt it wouldn't be too much of a problem to stop them for a while.Of course we are all different, so it would be a good idea to check with your rheumatology department. I did experience mild joint pain and tiredness each time but nothing that I couldn't cope with .

Hello ElizabethW,

I'm also on baricitinib (and leflunomide) and my my rheumy didn't advise me to stop my meds for my Covid jabs. I think leflunomide in particular stays in the body for quite a long time so there would not be much point in stopping it for a week or so. I'm quite confident the jabs works either way, even if it's "only" for preventing severe cases/hospitalization. They're talking about a booster jab for immunosuppressed patients so maybe that'll come at some point :)

Have a very nice day,

Christine 🌷

I think the important thing is that even if we catch covid, we would be protected from severe illness.

You are right we cannot give advice medical advice . …. most of us were told to keep taking our meds… please ask your doctors what they advise for you.

In my experience, people were given conflicting advice. Some were told to stop, some to continue. I made my own mind up and missed my dose of mxt for one week before. I think it was more a psychological choice with me because one week would make no difference at all as it is your body for 6 weeks. It just made me feel like I was giving the vaccine an extra boost.

Meds such as Abatercept, JAKs and Rituximab were detailed on Creaky Joints website as I mentioned above and that is a very informative article as to why there is advice for pause some meds. There is a long list of those you don’t have to pause. It is always best to ask your rheumatologist or err on the side of caution as you have done if you know a week or two won’t affect you as many people have also posted they have done. x

HiI was asked to stop my meds 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after at first.

The second time round, she suggested 1 week before and 2 weeks after.

However, I could carry on with prednisone as normal (which is 1) daily).

I decided to do the 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after so as to ensure a good immune response against covid.

To help with the inflammation I still take prednisone daily and have fresh root ginger and lemon in hot water every morning. So far Im ok. Will be taking second dose of the vac next week.

Hope this helps.

I understand that it’s a very individual decision as your rheumy balances up the risk of you flaring, your age/general health and probability of a good immune response anyway (older people have a weaker response) and the possible improvement in immune response.

So you’re best to ask your own rheumy.

I was advised to stop for both jabs.

No it wasn’t mentioned.I would just carry on as normal.Surprised you already haven’t had them

ElizabethW profile image
ElizabethW in reply to Fra22-57

I am in Canada. I had first dose in April. Most people are getting second doses now. Mine is today.

Fra22-57 profile image
Fra22-57 in reply to ElizabethW

Its such a relief to get your second dose.stay safe😀😷

This is something you need to discuss with your rheumatologist as it’s a very individual thing. The things which need to be taken into account are, how well your disease is controlled, how old you are, whether or not you take steroids, and the half life of the drugs you take (ie how long they stay in your system).

For me I was told not to stop any medications. My risk of flaring is great and the half life of my medications are long.

I was told to carry on with mine but I’m not in the early stages. Being on mine for few years. I personally would follow the medical advice I was given as they are the specialist not any of us.

I was advised just to carry on as normal. I'm on JAK inhibitors leflunomide and prednisolone.

My advice, while linked, was slightly different. My main drug is a biologic - Rituximab. Normally given by infusion perhaps every 6 months. It works well for me so I am normally retreated every 18 months - 2 years. I was treated in December when we knew vaccination was imminent but advised to continue to be treated but not to be vaccinated for 2 - 3 months to allow the immune system to recover a bit and to therefore give the vaccine a chance to work. During that period I was very careful to shield as much as possible. I had no reactions to either vaccine sessions but am assured that this does not mean that the vaccination was ineffective.

Hi Elizabeth I'm on Methotrexate tablets and sulphazaline. I chose to stop my tablets 3 weeks beforehand to allow my immune system to rally before the injection. I did this because previous experiences where from antibiotics and infection my immune system was already affected. I consulted my rheumatology team to let them know of my intentions, I had the Astra Zeneca jabs and was fine. I think the main thing is keeping in touch with your team even if it's just a message.

Thank you everyone for your input. I know that it is an individual decision for each of us, based on the medications we take and the disease control we are experiencing. In any case, having that second jab will allow me to finally get together with my family members, who are also fully vaccinated. It has been a long year and I have missed them.

I probably will continue to remain cautious and follow some of the hygiene rules forever, such as handwashing and sanitizing, but I think I will gradually become more comfortable with being out in public such as in restaurants and shops. These have been opening up in stages where I live.

I stop my metho tabs about a week before and sometimes for a couple of weeks, just to let my immune system have a break.

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