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Over-the-counter analgesic use and COVID-19

There is no proven scientific evidence preventing the use of either paracetamol or ibuprofen in treating symptoms of COVID-19.

Ibuprofen paracetamol packets

Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to treat the symptoms of COVID-19, says NHS England

20 APR 2020

The NHS has changed its advice on only taking paracetamol to treat the symptoms of COVID-19 and now says that patients can take either paracetamol or ibuprofen to self-medicate for symptoms such as fever or headache.

Important considerations when recommending ibuprofen


  • Consider a patient’s individual risk factors, including any history of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal illness or known renal impairment;
  • Recommend patients use the lowest effective dose of ibuprofen for the shortest duration necessary to control symptoms;
  • Patients who have been prescribed NSAIDs as a treatment for a long-term condition, such as arthritis, should be advised to keep taking these medicines as normal;
  • Adult patients who take low-dose 75mg aspirin regularly for prevention of heart attacks or for vascular disease should continue to do so;
  • Any suspected side effects from a medicine, including those purchased over-the-counter, should be reported via the Yellow Card Scheme.
  • ibuprofen paracetamol packets

    Medicines regulator and NICE to review evidence of impact of NSAIDs on COVID-19

    18 MAR 2020By

    The Committee of Human Medicines — an advisory body of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency — and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are to review the evidence on the impact of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on the severity of COVID-19 infection.

    ibuprofen-blister-pack-hands-16

    Advice on NSAIDs and COVID-19

    17 MAR 2020

    RPS issues advice following news reports originating in France regarding the use of ibuprofen in patients with COVID-19

    Lloydspharmacy store

    'Unprecedented demand' for OTC painkillers as COVID-19 outbreak spreads

    13 MAR 2020By

    The owner of LloydsPharmacy has said there is “unprecedented demand” for over-the-counter painkillers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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