According to Michigan Medicine researchers, about 3% of insured U.S. people under 65 years take immune-suppressing medications Trusted Source. This is significant since taking these medications increases a person’s chances of developing COVID-19 symptoms and being admitted to the hospital if they get the virus. Additionally, there is mounting evidence that these medicines may impair the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr. Beth Wallace, a rheumatologist at Michigan Medicine, says immunosuppressive medicines are typically used to treat illnesses where an improper immune response can damage particular portions of the patient’s own body. The patient’s immune system may attack certain body parts, causing injury.
Immunosuppressive medicines can be used to reduce the patient’s tissues being attacked. According to Wallace, another situation in which immunosuppressive medication might be used is when someone has an organ transplant. The drugs are being utilized in this situation to keep the immune system from mistaking the transplanted organ for an invader and attacking it.
Prednisone and dexamethasone are examples of steroid medicines. These drugs can treat allergic reactions, bronchitis, and sinus infections in the short term. On the other hand, immunosuppressive medications function by lowering your immune system’s ability to perceive and fight off threats, according to Wallace. This inhibition is beneficial in treating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, characterized by an unfavorable immune response.