Is Ibuprofen Usage during COVID 19 Safe?

NB: The WHO has updated its guidelines and stated that taking Ibuprofen during COVID is not an issue anymore.

Earlier in the year the World Health Organization advised against the use of Ibuprofen, an over the counter Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) for people with symptoms of coronavirus such fever, nasal congestion, cough and body-ache as it has the potential to aggravate the infection.

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen

Based on the study published in The Lancet Journal, the French Minister of Health sounded the warning against use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen. According to the study, Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs could increase the activity of an enzyme that worsened infections from COVID-19.

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Christian Lindmeier, WHO spokesman said they were “looking into this to give further guidance. In the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That’s important.” However, in cases where Ibruprofen is “prescribed by the healthcare professionals, then, of course, that’s up to them.”

WHO commented on the use of Ibuprofen after a tweet from Veran was widely circulated. The tweet by Veran warned against the aggravating factor of Ibuprofen in COVID-19 infected patients, while also recommending taking paracetamol for fever instead of any anti-inflammatory drugs.

For those patients who were already receiving Ibuprofen or similar anti-inflammatory drugs, the health minister suggested the patients to get advice from their physician.

Paracetamol should only be used in case of fever, and even then the dosage must not exceed the recommended dosage to prevent liver damage. The recommended dose for Paracetamol is upto 1000 mg per dose, while not exceeding a total daily dose of 4000 mg.

Currently, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 250,000 people and resulted in 10,500 deaths worldwide. In majority of the infected people, the COVID-19 infection resembles a flu but in about 6-8 % of infected people, the infection can develop to Pneumonia, which can be fatal.

However, the warning against using anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen during serious respiratory infections was given long before the COVID-19 pandemic as researchers had previously found the adverse effects on other infections.

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British pharmaceutical company Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Nurofen, stated they knew about the warning against “the use of steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) products, including ibuprofen, for the alleviation of COVID-19 symptoms. We do not currently believe there is any proven scientific evidence linking over-the-counter use of ibuprofen to the aggravation of COVID-19,” the statement said.

Reckitt Benckiser said they are currently working with the WHO, EMA (the European Medicines Agency) and other local health authorities to evaluate the effects of Nurofen on infectious complications.

NB: The WHO has updated its guidelines and stated that taking Ibuprofen during COVID 19 is not an issue anymore.

References

Avoid taking ibuprofen for COVID-19 symptoms: WHO

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