When sitting down to get your COVID shot, you want to be sure that it's as effective as possible. Experts have suggested you avoid taking over-the-counter medication before getting your vaccine to make sure you have the strongest immune response possible. Now, a new study has found that one commonly prescribed medication could make two of the COVID vaccines less effective. Read on to find out which medication could affect your body's immune response, and for more things that can lower efficacy, The Pfizer Vaccine May Be Less Effective If You Have This Common Condition.
Remicade could make the first dose of some COVID vaccines less effective.
A pre-peer-reviewed study shared on medRxiv on March 29 found that regular infusions of infliximab (Remicade) can make the first dose of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines less effective. Researchers observed that patients who were receiving regular injections of infliximab, a common antibody treatment for a handful of chronic inflammatory diseases, had "poor antibody responses" after the first dose of these two vaccines.
Remicade is commonly used to treat a range of autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, plaque psoriasis, and ulcerative colitis. If you receive infusions of infliximab, you should talk with your doctor before getting the COVID vaccine. And for more on meds and the vaccine, discover The Only Medication You Should Take Before Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Say.
For most people, the immune response improved after the second dose.
While the first dose of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines induced a weak immune response for many of those on infliximab, the study found that it improved after the second dose. With that in mind, patients should not delay getting their second dose of the vaccine. "Until patients receive a second vaccine dose, they should consider that they are not protected from SARS-CoV-2 infection and continue to practice enhanced physical distancing and shielding if appropriate," the study advised. And for more issues to discuss with your physician, If You Take This Common Medication, Talk to a Doctor Before Your Vaccine.
Some people never achieved enough immunity.
While most Remicade patients had a sufficient immune response after the second dose, that wasn't the case for all of them. The study noted that even after a second dose, a "small subset of patients failed to mount an antibody response." The researchers felt that "antibody testing and adapted vaccine schedules should be considered to protect these at-risk patients." And for more up-to-date COVID news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Researchers think this could also be the case with other similar drugs.
The researchers noted that reduced efficacy is most likely not singular to people taking infliximab. The study hypothesizes that people prescribed other TNF inhibitors, which suppress the immune system to reduce inflammation, could also face a diminished immune response post-vaccination.
Besides Remicade, other commonly prescribed TNF inhibitors include Enbrel (etanercept), Humira (adalimumab), Cimzia (certolizumab pegol), and Simponi (golimumab). Humira and Enbrel are two of the world's top-selling medications, according to ARY News. The researchers suggested that "all patients receiving these drugs should be prioritized for optimally timed second doses." And for more essential vaccine guidance, learn the 2 Things You Need to Stop Eating Before Your COVID Vaccine, New Study Says.