There is insufficient evidence at present of any possible link between ibuprofen or other NSAIDs and a worsening of Covid-19 symptoms or increased susceptibility to the coronavirus, the Government’s Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) Expert Working Group has said.
In an April 14 statement, the CHM said patients “can take paracetamol or ibuprofen when self-medicating for symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever and headache” and should follow NHS advice if their symptoms worsen.
Prescribers should consider any risk factors such as cardiovascular or gastrointestinal illness when prescribing ibuprofen and should prescribe the lowest effective dose of ibuprofen for the shortest duration necessary, the CHM said.
Any patient currently taking NSAIDs for a long-term condition should continue taking them as prescribed, the CHM added.
The MHRA, NHS and NICE also released an explanatory letter.
There has been speculation since the pandemic began that ibuprofen could be harmful for some Covid-19 patients, possibly by masking symptoms or aggravating acute respiratory infections. The French Health Ministry has advised against using ibuprofen in patients who have the virus.
Meanwhile, the Indian government has approved the export of 2,800,000 packets of paracetamol to help the UK cope with shortages in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Packs will be distributed to supermarkets and retailers in the UK, the Department of International Trade announced on April 14.
Pharmacy Network News has queried whether the imports will also be made available to community pharmacies.
International trade secretary Liz Truss said it was “imperative that we work together to continue global trade and keep supply chains open”.