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COVID-19 and Ibuprofen (Advil)? Is it dangerous? Pharmacist’s take!

In the midst of this pandemic, many media outlets have reported that anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen (Brand names: Advil and Motrin) can worsen COVID-19 symptoms. These reports originated from studies…

By thepharmacoach

Apr 4, 2020

In the midst of this pandemic, many media outlets have reported that anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen (Brand names: Advil and Motrin) can worsen COVID-19 symptoms. These reports originated from studies on COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms who were taking specific types of high blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors and ARB’s). Through biological mechanisms observed in animals, these medications would facilitate the coronavirus’ attack on your system. These conclusions with ACE inhibitors and ARB’s have been extrapolated to anti-inflammatories because they could also cause these biological mechanisms. 

However, these assumptions are not enough for the FDA and Health Canada to recommend stopping the use of anti-inflammatories during this pandemic. The current research is limited and insufficient for many reasons. No study has been made directly on anti-inflammatories. These biological mechanisms have not been yet observed in humans.

The FDA and Health Canada will let us know if there are any new developments. 

For the moment, in case you don’t want to worry about it or take any chances, the current recommendations are:

  1. If you have COVID-19 or present symptoms similar to ones of COVID-19 (fever with cough, sore throat, etc.), consider another fever and pain relief medication such as acetaminophen (brand name: Tylenol). Always read and follow the instructions on the box. Ask your pharmacist if the alternative is compatible with your conditions and your medications. 
  2. If you take an anti-inflammatory as a prescription for chronic pain, continue your treatment. If you want to stop it, talk about it to your health professional before doing anything.

If you want more details on the biological mechanisms behind this assumption and on the reasons why these reports making them are insufficient, click on the Youtube video above. For more informative videos and articles, don’t forget to like, subscribe to my Youtube channel, and turn on that notification button to not miss a Refill day video. 

Refill your life and stay safe!

References:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-advises-patients-use-non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs-nsaids-covid-19
  2. https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2020/72633a-eng.php
  3. https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2213-2600%2820%2930116-8
  4. https://www.inesss.qc.ca/fileadmin/doc/INESSS/COVID-19/COVID-19_Anti-inflammatoires.pdf
  5. https://www.inesss.qc.ca/fileadmin/doc/INESSS/COVID-19/COVID-19_IECA.pdf

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