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Ibuprofen use and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

20th March 2020

Photograph of Ibuprofen use and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.

Until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

We are aware there has been concern spreading about the use of ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) in relation to COVID-19.

However, there is currently no research into ibuprofen and the new coronavirus. This includes:
the link between ibuprofen and the likelihood of contracting the virus
the link between ibuprofen and the worsening of coronavirus symptoms

What should I do?
Patients who have confirmed COVID-19, or believe they have COVID-19, should take paracetamol in preference to ibuprofen.

Those currently advised to use ibuprofen by their healthcare professional should not stop using them.

There is some debate suggesting NSAIDs may increase complications from simple acute respiratory infections or slow recovery. The product information of many NSAIDs already contains warnings that their anti-inflammatory effects may hide the symptoms of a worsening infection. However the evidence is not conclusive.

In view of the current lack of research the Commission on Human Medicines (an expert advisory body of MHRA) and NICE have been asked to review the evidence.