The use of the common anti-inflammatory drug has been controversial since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic since health agencies have not established a definite stance on it. The World Health Organization had advised people to discontinue taking the drug during the early days of the crisis, stating that it may lead to a higher risk of severe coronavirus infection.
However, the agency later switched its statement and gave no further comments on ibuprofen for coronavirus patients. Ever since then, no health organization has given any comments regarding the potential impact of the drug on the coronavirus infection, any associated side effects, or whether it is safe for usage for the virus.
On the other hand, most health experts state that there is a general lack of evidence to support either side of the argument on the safety of ibuprofen for treating coronavirus infection. A new study now provides evidence to show that the drug is indeed safe and does not worsen symptoms of the infection or increase the risk of a severe form of the infection.
More precisely, the researchers in the new study, which appears in the journal PLOS One, concluded that people who took ibuprofen while having the coronavirus infection did not experience any associated side effects.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers investigated the data of over nine thousand people, all of whom were diagnosed with coronavirus during the early days of the pandemic from the month of February to April.
Read the study here.
Around 248 of these participants took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which is the class of medicines ibuprofen is categorized in, a month after testing positive for the infection.
After assessing data of people who used both ibuprofen and those who did not, it was found that there were no significant differences in hospitalization, requirements, or death rate between both the groups, which shows that the drug is unlikely to cause any negative effects.
However, the researchers still do not recommend taking ibuprofen or any other NSAIDs during the coronavirus infection because of their other well-known and documented side effects. People with certain health conditions should especially avoid taking the drugs and only start treatment after consultation with a health professional.
In addition, it should also be noted that taking an NSAID drug may not be sufficient for managing symptoms of the coronavirus infection alone as the disease is now known to have multiple effects on many organs in the body and not just the lungs. Ibuprofen should only be used only in case it is administrated by a doctor.
For now, the researchers agree that further investigation is required on the use of ibuprofen in coronavirus even though the previous findings clearly show that it is not likely to cause any adverse effects or a severe coronavirus infection.
In the future, more research with larger cohort groups which are also conducted for a longer period of time may also show other unknown effects of NSAIDs or ibuprofen in coronavirus patients.