Covid: ibuprofen does not worsen coronavirus cases, a British study found

Published by Cécile D. · Published on 10 May 2021 at 14h10
At the beginning of the pandemic, doctors warned us against taking ibuprofen, suspected to exacerbate the risk of developing severe Covid-19. A recent British study shows this drug ends up not dangerous at all.

Remember, back in Spring 2020 Olivier Véran and the National Agency for the Medicine warned us against non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) use such as ibuprofen, Nurofen, ketoprofen, or Advil: these drugs being accused of increasing Covid-19 severity.

WHO and medical pharmacology specialist Nicholas Moore contradicted this opinion: they considered anti-inflammatory drug use was not a particular problem faced with the virus. The expert explained to our peers from 20 Minutes that relationships between ibuprofen and severe Covid-19 had a very logical cause: “We’re not surprised that most severe cases have been exposed to ibuprofen [relieving pain and headaches]” since the virus causes headaches, and people infected will try and get relieved from pains with painkillers.

A study conducted by the British health authorities – released in The Lancet Rheumatology – proves Moore was right.

NSAID use is not associated with higher mortality or increased severity of COVID-19”, the study reads.

The main author of this study, Pr. Ewen Harrison adds in a release that “we now have clear evidence that NSAIDs are safe to use in patients with COVID-19”. His team studied 72,000 patients hospitalized in 255 healthcare centers in England, Scotland, and Wales between January and August 2020.

Among the patients studied, 4,211 of them used an anti-inflammatory drug, mostly ibuprofen. The study then shows that the death rate is very similar in patients who used a drug and those who did not: around 30%. NSAIDs do not seem to increase risk of deaths or severe disease.

Yet, searchers admit their study has limits: they could not assess for how long patients used drugs not for what reasons they did (chronical disease or temporary pain).

Yet, results of the study are expected to relieve many people, Harrison thinks: “NSAIDs are commonly used to treat people all over the world for a range of conditions, from minor aches and pains to chronic conditions”. He adds: “Many people rely on them to be able to carry out their day-to-day activities”.

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