Will I have to quit my biologic medication prior to surgery?

Hello, Is it necessary to quit biologic medication prior to surgery? I am wondering if anyone has any experience with stopping the treatment and postoperative pain. Thank you kindly, Jana


Community Answers
  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Hi Jana. Sorry you may be looking at surgery. Unfortunately, due to concerns regarding infection and the impact of biologics on the immune system there it is pretty standard to discontinue biologic medications for surgery. The time period is usually connected to the half-life of the medication and your doctor should be able to provide more specifics on this. Thought you might be interested in this video for our contributor Kat on handling surgery, including post-surgery pain: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/video/surgery-tips-part-3-how-to-handle-surgery-like-a-champ/. Wishing you the best and, as Daniel said, please let us know if you have any additional questions. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • kch1870
    3 weeks ago

    I’ve had eight surgeries on my back. Before every surgery I’ve had to stop some if not all of my arthritis meds. Be sure to ask your rheumatologist and your surgeon. My surgeon always told me what to stop and when.

  • Jforsyth author
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you Daniel! I appreciate the insight. I am lucky enough to have an appointment with my rheumatologist next week. I will discuss my options, and hopefully….

    I am extremely nervous about the surgery, the chance of infection, recovery, and everything that comes with it. I am trying to maintain a full-time job, and it is becoming more and more difficult. I feel like I am one thing/incident/surgery away from being incapable of working. (that was venting).

    Thanks again. I appreciate your insight.

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    3 weeks ago

    @Jforsyth Ah yes, the dreaded quit biologic before surgery. I have had this fight with my docs more times than you can imagine. In general, yes, they like you to quit any medication that can increasse the chances of infection. In my case, though, they pump me full of steroids before and after the surgery. This is not an uncommon thing. Usually you start back up as soon as you can. Talk to your rheumatologist and tell him or her that you are having some anxiety about going off your biologic. Hopefully they will let you take it up until the last day and restart soon after. We’ll be here if you have any other questions. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

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