Recent reports have suggested the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, could worsen the coronavirus (COVID-19). A March 11, 2020, letter in The Lancet hypothesized that an enzyme that is increased by NSAIDs could aggravate COVID-19 symptoms.1

The FDA has released a statement addressing the issue, stating that the organization is “not aware of scientific evidence connecting the use of NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, with worsening COVID-19 symptoms.”1

This statement follows a warning from authorities in France that the use of OTC anti-inflammatory drugs may worsen COVID-19, including a tweet from France’s health minister Olivier Véran, MD, that anti-inflammatories may be a factor in aggravating the infection.2

However, the FDA reminded the public that all prescription NSAID labels warn that “the pharmacological activity of NSAIDs in reducing inflammation, and possibly fever, may diminish the utility of diagnostic signs in detecting infections.”1

The FDA has recommended using OTC and prescription medications approved for pain relief and fever reduction, and suggest speaking to a health care professional if you are concerned about taking NSAIDs and rely on these medications to treat chronic diseases.1  

  1. FDA advises patients on use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for COVID-19 [news release]. Silver Spring, MD; FDA: March 19, 2020. Accessed March 20, 2020.
  2. Nessel, Jennifer. Uncertainty surrounds use of OTC anti-inflammatory drugs in patients with COVID-19. Pharmacy Times. Published March 16, 2020. Accessed March 20, 2020.