Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Updated 5th November 2020

General Advice

    • For all our patients, we advise continuing your medication, and blood testing as you have previously been advised. Your GP should facilitate this.

      • If you are having any problems with this, then please get in contact via the helpline number below.

    • You should adhere to strict social distancing advice as given by the government

    • If you are unsure, please contact us so we can evaluate your condition and medication to advise you

    • If you have pulmonary hypertension, you should be shielded

    • All patients who are considered “Extremely Clinically Vulnerable” should have received a letter from the government by post or by e-mail.  If you have received this letter, you are strongly advised to shield as per its contents  If you are not able to work from home you should not attend work.  This includes NHS and other essential workers.  You should discuss this with your employer, and you would be eligible for furlough payments or other benefits as outlined in your shielding letter.
    • If you feel you should have received a shielding letter, and have not done so, please contact your consultant, via their secretary and they will review your case
  • Government coronavirus advice including definitions:

    • Shielding

    • Social Distancing

      • Enhanced Social Distancing is as detailed in “Social Distancing” plus not leaving the house for shopping.


Patients taking immune system suppressing medication

  • Sulphasalazine and Hydroxychloroquine

    • Not known to increase susceptibility to coronavirus

    • Continue with normal social distancing advice.

  • Methotrexate, Leflunomide, Azathioprine, Mycophenolate Mofetil

    • Increased susceptibility is suspected

    • If taking one only of these medications:

      • Strict social distancing advice.

    • If taking one of these medications, and have another significant health issue, or are over 70:

      • We advise to isolate to the best of your ability, for example, work from home if possible, but if not possible, strict social distancing.

    • If taking two or more of these medications:

      • We advise to isolate to the best of your ability, for example, work from home if possible, but if not possible, strict social distancing.

    • If taking two or more of these medications, and have another significant health issue (see below), are over 70, or are taking steroids (e.g Prednisolone):

      • You should be shielded, and we would advise that you should not leave the house for your protection – please contact us for further advice.


Patients taking Advanced Therapies (Biologics)

These are:
  • Abatacept (Orencia)

  • Adalimumab (Humira or Amgevita)

  • Apremilast (Otezla)

  • Baricitinib (Xeljanz)

  • Certolizumab Pegol (Cimzia)

  • Etanercept (Enbrel or Benepali)

  • Golimumab (Simponi)

  • Infliximab (Remicade or Remsema)

  • Rituximab (MabtheRA or Truxima)

  • Sarilumab (Kevzara)

  • Secukinumab (Cosentyx)

  • Tocilizumab (RoActemra)

  • Tofacitinib (Olumiant)

  • Ustekinumab (Stelara)

  • If taking one of these, but no other immune suppressing medication:

    • Strict social distancing advice.

  • If taking one of these medications, and have another significant health issue, or are over 70:

    • We advise to isolate to the best of your ability, for example, work from home if possible, but if not possible, strict social distancing.

  • If taking one of these medications AND another immune suppressing medication:

    • We advise to isolate to the best of your ability, for example, work from home if possible, but if not possible, strict social distancing.

  • If taking one of these medications, AND another immune suppressing medication, AND have another significant health issue (see below), are over 70, or are taking steroids (e.g Prednisolone):

    • You should be shielded, and we would advise that you should not leave the house for your protection – please contact us for further advice.

Patients taking Steroids
(Prednisolone, cortisone, injections or tablets)

  • If you are taking 20mg or more of Prednisolone per day for more than four weeks, you should be shielded and we would advise that you should not leave the house for your protection – please contact us for further advice

  • If you are taking taking 5-20mg of prednisolone per day AND ONE OR MORE immune suppressing medications or are over 70, or have another significant medical condition are you should be shielded, and we would advise that you should not leave the house for your protection – please contact us for further advice.


Significant Medical Conditions

  • Significant heart disease

    • Heart failure

    • Bypass graft

    • Stents

    • Heart Attack

    • High blood pressure (Hypertension)

  • Stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA, or “Mini-stroke”)

  • Peripheral vascular disease

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Diabetes

  • Any lung disease – for example

    • Asthma

    • COPD / Emphysema / Chronic Bronchitis

    • Bronchiectasis

    • Cystic Fibrosis

    • Lung fibrosis

    • Pulmonary Hypertension

  • Kidney disease – for example

    • Kidney failure

A flow chart to help you decide your risk level, initially designed by Leeds Teaching Hospitals, but approved by the Consultants at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

If you have further queries, please read the COVID-19 Section on the Versus Arthritis Website, but if you need additional information after that, please contact us.