Ibuprofen not linked to worse outcomes

Organisations including the TGA have moved to reassure Australians that there is no association between using NSAIDs like ibuprofen, and worse COVID-19 outcomes

The TGA said on Friday that it is aware of anecdotal reports circulating in the media about a purported link between the two.

“We have investigated this safety concern and found that there is currently no published peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support a direct link between use of ibuprofen and more severe infection with COVID-19,” the TGA said.

“We will continue to monitor this issue.”

The TGA urged consumers to seek advice from a health professional about managing symptoms and whether they require testing for COVID-19.

“As with all medicines, NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) can cause side effects (also known as adverse events). The risk of harmful side effects increases if you use a medicine in a way other than as recommended,” it said.

“If you are currently taking ibuprofen, or another NSAID, for management of a chronic health problem, do not stop taking your medication without discussing this first with your treating doctor.”

In the US, the FDA said it was also aware of concerns, following a 2020 letter in the Lancet which hypothesized that an enzyme (a molecule that aids a biochemical reaction in the body) is increased by NSAIDs and could aggravate COVID-19 symptoms.

“At this time, FDA is not aware of scientific evidence connecting the use of NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, with worsening COVID-19 symptoms,” it said.

“The agency is investigating this issue further and will communicate publicly when more information is available.

“However, 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.”

The World Health Organization also reassured the general public that it does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen.


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