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Ibuprofen Doesn't Make COVID-19 Worse

Hind Khoudary Hind Khoudary
31st May 2020
Ibuprofen Doesn't Make COVID-19 Worse
There’s no scientific evidence that ibuprofen causes worse outcomes (Getty Images)

The Claim

Patients should avoid taking ibuprofen to relieve pain and fever associated with COVID-19 infections.

Emerging story

Along with the endless rumors and fear during the Corona pandemic, a viral text warning that taking anti-inflammatory drugs could make COVID-19 symptoms worse spread everywhere on social media platforms. On March 14, 2020, Oliver Veran, the French Minister of Solidarity and Health, announced via Twitter: "Taking anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, cortisone) could be an aggravating factor of the infection. If you have a fever, take Paracetamol. If you are already on anti-inflammatory drugs or in doubt, ask your doctor.”

After the French official warning, The World Health Organization recommended on March 18, 2020 that people suffering from COVID-19 symptoms should avoid taking ibuprofen. 


Dr. Amir Khan, an NHS doctor, wrote in Al Jazeera, “While ibuprofen is used to treat pain, including symptoms of cold, such headaches and sore throats, along with colds, it can have a depressive effect on part of our immune systems.” Yet, the lack of clear consensus on the issue from the medical profession has led to mixed messages and rumors spreading online.

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar didn't find enough information to say whether ibuprofen does or does not make coronavirus symptoms worse.  We also don’t have any studies proving that ibuprofen is bad for COVID-19. Dr. Michele Barry, director of the Center of Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University, said that there is “No Data.” He added that he believes that there is no reason to think that infected patients should avoid temporary use of ibuprofen.

Muge Cevik, a researcher at the University of St Andrews Infection and Global Health Division, tweeted, “There’s no scientific evidence I am aware of that ibuprofen [causes worse] outcomes in Covid19.” WHO also updated their advice on their official Twitter account: “Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen.” European Medicines Agency (EMA) published a press release on the March 18 stating that they are aware of the reports on social media about (NSAIDs) worsening COVID-19. EMA stated that there is no scientific evidence establishing a link between ibuprofen and the worsening of COVID-19. The added that they are monitoring the situation closely and will review any new information that becomes available on the issue of ibuprofen in the context of the pandemic. Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Nurofen, stressed that based on all of the available information, there is currently no proven scientific evidence linking over the counter use of ibuprofen to the aggravation of COVID-19.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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