By Courtney Bibo March 21, 2020
Is ibuprofen safe to take if you have Coronavirus (Covid-19)?
There is a mass amount of news outlets reporting that ibuprofen is not safe to take if you have Coronavirus (Covid-19). However, there is no actual evidence of any such concern.
I was first made aware of the concern via a text message from a relative. I woke up to a screen shot of the French Health Minister speaking. The headline read, “Avoid taking Ibuprofen for Covid-19 symptoms.” I immediately searched around for some solid evidence of this claim.
I came up empty-handed. There are only second-hand accounts of this warning against ibuprofen. These reports reference the World Health Organization (WHO) but the WHO has no such statement. That is, there is nothing official coming from the WHO saying not to take ibuprofen for Coronavirus (Covid-19). In fact, the WHO said they are “…not aware of published clinical or population-based data on this topic” (Edwards, 2020). In other words, there is not enough proof to say ibuprofen is unsafe.
Many infectious disease physicians have been interviewed about the use of ibuprofen for Coronavirus (Covid-19). These interviews all say the same thing. That there is no proof supporting ibuprofen making Coronavirus (Covid-19) worse. Some of these infectious disease doctors are from the Cleveland Clinic, Vanderbilt University, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (You can read what they said here.)
Where is this advice coming from then?
There was a letter published in The Lancet on March 11. The authors are saying that Coronavirus binds to a receptor on the surface of our cells, called ACE2. Ibuprofen stimulates these ACE2 receptors. The authors are saying that because ibuprofen stimulates those receptors, ibuprofen may worsen Coronavirus (Covid-19). The French Health Minister tweeted this information out and it went viral.
However, there are not enough studies regarding the use of ibuprofen and Coronavirus (Covid-19) to say that it is harmful, at this time. In other words, we need to wait for more studies to get a better understanding of this issue. We may, in the future, learn that ibuprofen is not safe to take with Coronavirus (Covid-19). However, at this time, we have no reason to believe that.
Edwards, E. (2020, March 18). Ibuprofen and coronavirus: Should you take ibuprofen now? NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/should-you-be-worried-about-taking-ibuprofen-coronavirus-no-experts-n1162816
Fang, L., Karakiulakis, G., Roth, M. (2020, March 11). Are patients with hypertention and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for COVID-19 infection? The Lancet. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30116-8