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Medicines use

Advice on NSAIDs and COVID-19

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

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) issued a statement on 17 March 2020, in response to recent news and social media reports related to the use of non-stroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs in patients with COVID-19

There is not currently enough information on ibuprofen use and COVID-19 to advise people to stop using NSAIDs. There is currently no published scientific evidence that ibuprofen increases the risk of catching COVID-19 or makes the illness worse. In addition, there is also no conclusive evidence that taking ibuprofen is harmful for other respiratory infections.

Most people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness and some people may need to take medicines, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to help with raised temperature, headache and other pains; always follow the instructions on the label if you do take these medicines and do not exceed the stated dose. 

Gino Martini, chief scientist at the RPS commented “Paracetamol is the preferred first-line treatment to control temperature in patients with underlying health conditions. Patients with concerns or worsening health should consult their physician or pharmacist for an individual discussion.”

Patients who have been prescribed NSAIDs for long-term health problems should continue to take them as directed by their healthcare professional.

This statement reflects current NHS patient guidance.

More guidance will be provided if any supporting evidence emerges. Information on COVID-19 can be found in our Special Report and on the RPS coronavirus page.



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