Dear angioedema patients,
Over the past couple of days, many of you had questions for us regarding recurrent angioedema and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Does recurrent angioedema come with an increased risk of infection? Is COVID-19 more severe in patients with hereditary angioedema or urticaria-associated angioedema? Your questions are important and relevant, and we are happy to provide answers.
Please bear in mind that this is a new virus, the properties of which we are only beginning to understand. Because of this, there is, as of yet, very little experience in relation to hereditary angioedema and other forms of recurrent angioedema.
Based on the current state of knowledge, there is no reason to believe that having hereditary angioedema affects the risk of infection or the course of an infection with the novel coronavirus. Patients with hereditary angioedema, due to C1-inhibitor deficiency or with normal C1-inhibitor levels, are not generally held to be more likely to get infected or have a more severe course of COVID-19. For hereditary angioedema itself and its treatment, there are no special measures in connection with COVID-19 to date.
For patients who have recurrent angioedema because they have chronic urticaria, there is also no increased risk of infection with the novel coronavirus or of a severe course of COVID-19. For patients who are immunosuppressed or taking immunosuppressive medication due to their disease, the general instructions and measures for the best possible protection against infection apply. Immunosuppressive drugs here means cortisone or ciclosporin A as long-term medication, NOT omalizumab (Xolair). According to current knowledge, therapy with omalizumab is not associated with an increased risk of infection and does not influence the course of an infection with the novel coronavirus.
It is generally recommended, as is well known, to practice social distancing. Travel should be avoided. Hands should be washed thoroughly on a regular basis. For immunocompromised patients, it may also be advisable to check the immune status against pneumococcus and pertussis and, if necessary, to vaccinate, as these pathogens can cause complications as an accompanying infection.
Please feel free to reach out to your Angioedema Center of Reference and Excellence for any follow up questions you have or information you need. We’re here to help you make it through this crisis!