Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y)
The vast majority of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) will receive immunosuppressive therapy at some point for their disease, whether for the short term (such as a course of corticosteroids) or long term (such as maintenance therapy with immunomodulators or biologics). The systemic immunosuppression places patients at increased risk for infections. Therefore, it is important that patients are up-to-date with immunizations to minimize vaccine-preventable infections. However, the literature shows that the rate of immunization in patients with IBD is low. Ideally, the vaccination status is checked at diagnosis, and patients are immunized with the vaccines they need. Drawing titers is helpful in cases in which vaccination history is unclear or to confirm that titers are at an adequate level in cases in which patients have been vaccinated. Current guidelines recommend that patients with IBD follow the same routine immunization schedule as healthy children, but patients should not be administered live vaccines if they are receiving immunosuppressive therapy. Therefore, it is ideal to administer any necessary vaccinations as early as possible, prior to starting immunosuppressive therapy. Patients may receive inactivated vaccines regardless of immunosuppressive status. The IBD literature suggests that inactivated vaccines are safe and do not worsen disease activity. In general, patients with IBD mount an immune response to vaccines, but the response may be lower if patients are receiving immunosuppressive therapy, especially tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.
School of Medicine