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Clear guidance on ibuprofen issued after confusion

People sought clear guidance on the use of the drug to treat Covid-19 symptoms after debate online.

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Ibuprofen guidance clarified (PA)

Ibuprofen guidance clarified (PA)

Ibuprofen guidance clarified (PA)

People should take paracetamol to relieve the symptoms of coronavirus, health officials have said.

It comes after there was confusion over the use of ibuprofen when treating the symptoms of Covid-19.

NHS advice, published on the Department of Health and Social Care’s Twitter account, says: “take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you it’s not suitable for you”.

If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first

It adds: “There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (Covid-19) worse.

“But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

“If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first.”

Confusion over the use of ibuprofen began at the weekend when a French health minister suggested that anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, could worsen the infection.

It led to debate over the use of the drug, including seemingly between the Government’s chief scientific adviser and public health officials.

But now, a unified response has been issued.

Yesterday, Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of Nurofen, said it was liaising with the World Health Organisation and other health bodies, but it stressed that there is no current evidence linking ibuprofen to the worsening of Covid-19.

The statement added: “Consumer safety is our number one priority. Ibuprofen is a well-established medicine that has been used safely as a self-care fever and pain reducer, including in viral illnesses, for more than 30 years.

“We do not currently believe there is any proven scientific evidence linking over-the-counter use of ibuprofen to the aggravation of Covid-19.”

A frontline NHS doctor, who chose to remain anonymous, told PA they are concerned a lack of testing in the UK for coronavirus could mean patients in need of NSAIDs are denied pain relief unnecessarily.

“If you’re a rheumatoid patient and you have chronic pain you may need that to function,” they said.

“They’re being told to stop because of the virus, but again they’re not being tested so you don’t know.

“And then you tell them to take paracetamol, which is a weaker, less effective drug, and not available in the stores because people have been rushing to buy it. It’s massively worrying.”

PA