Dupilumab (Dupixent) and omalizumab (Xolair) are biologics/monoclonal antibodies used to treat nasal polyps and asthma. So, can you take the COVID-19 vaccine while on these medications?
THE TWO FDA-APPROVED VACCINES ARE NOT LIVE VACCINES
The two COVID-19 vaccinations currently available (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) are both non-live, mRNA vaccines. The package insert for dupilumab states that live vaccines should be avoided because it has not been studied with live vaccines. Thus, from this standpoint, both of the medicines can be given.
ANTIBODY RESPONSES PRODUCED WITH OTHER VACCINES IN PATIENTS ON BIOLOGICS
Dupilumab has been studied with other non-live vaccines and the vaccines worked. In a study of atopic dermatitis adults on dupilumab, both the meningococcal polysaccharide and tetanus vaccines showed similar antibody responses in both placebo-treated and dupilumab-treated subjects.
NEITHER MEDICINE HAS IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE EFFECTS
Dupilumab and omalizumab "modulate" or change the behavior of the immune system, but neither medicine has been shown to reduce the immune system in studies.
JOINT STATEMENT FROM EXPERTS
According to a Joint Statement by the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO–HNS) and the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA), dupilumab (Dupixent) and omalizumab (Xolair) should not be given on the same day but otherwise can be administered on the normal schedule.
Experts are currently recommending that patients continue dupilumab (Dupixent) and omalizumab (Xolair) when getting the COVID-19 vaccine as long as both the biologic and vaccine are not administered on the same day. Neither medication has been found to lower the immune system and the current vaccines are non-live. Always consult your treating physician for individual medical advice.
Thomas S. Higgins, MD, MSPH
Father. Husband. Sinus Nerd.
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