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Ibuprofen and Covid: how its bad reputation was created and what doctors are saying now about its use


A recent study published in The Lancet magazine states that, contrary to what was believed, it has no contraindications for the disease. Recommendations of the experts in Argentina.

Emilia vexler

06/10/2021 6:01 AM

  • Clarí

  • Society

Updated 06/10/2021 6:01 AM

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, ibuprofen had a

very bad press

among the global medical community. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that people with symptoms associated with Covid

not self-medicate

with ibuprofen. It was believed that the risk of these patients developing complications was increased. Later, in practice, in our country

it began to be administered

in clinics and for those who carried the infection at home.

A study published in May in the prestigious scientific journal The Lancet now says that this anti-inflammatory

has no contraindications

, and ibuprofen appears to be on its way to finally clearing its bad reputation against Covid.

In our country,

6 out of 10



already alternate it with paracetamol.

But the "doubt" still persists in the population.

Is ibuprofen safe for everyone who has Covid?

The consensus is yes.

"The over-the-counter ibuprofen -the 400 milligram, because the 600 milligram is already sold by prescription- is safe to use at home if you have Covid," explains

Jimena Worcel, medical director of the Argentine Chamber of Over-the-

Counter Medicines to



He says this because, 14 months after the start of the pandemic, "unlike what happened in March 2020", those who have Covid "are very close to health centers - in the sense that, faced with symptoms, they they come to do the swab and have a follow-up, they are controlled and attentive, as if to simply self-medicate. But in the case of the classic symptoms, fever, joint pain, ibuprofen is safe. " 

Remarks that this drug can be administered alternately with paracetamol.

"That way you

don't increase the toxicity

of either drug."

WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.




, in general terms, that is

the recommendation

of those who follow up from prepaid and social works: in case the fever does not subside with paracetamol every 8 hours, it is indicated, in the middle, that is, every 4 hours, take ibuprofen.

"We also recommend that people read the package insert for the ibuprofen they buy," closes Worcel.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) had already advanced in Europe that there was "no scientific proof" that ibuprofen aggravated the disease.

How did the misunderstanding come about?

It all started when the French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, at the beginning of the pandemic 

sowed doubts

 through a tweet about its possible unwanted effects.

In a clear domino effect, specialists from other European countries also targeted it.

And the "bad press" of this anti-inflammatory drug reached Argentina.

The change

"The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (its active substance is ibuprofen) is

not associated

with an increase in mortality or the severity of Covid-19", concludes the study by the British health authorities, published in the medical journal The Lancet Rheumatology.

"We now have clear evidence that they can be used safely in Covid patients," explained Ewen Harrison of the University of Edinburgh and lead author of the study of

72,000 patients


The mortality rate, 31.3%, was


between patients who took ibuprofen and those who did not.

This study is the largest of its kind published to date.

Roberto Debbag, vice president of the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectology, is aware of the

"new positive makeover"

of ibuprofen, but knows that doctors and patients continue to prefer paracetamol.

"Both could be used: acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ibuprofen, as published in the Lancet study, does not lead to worsening of Covid pictures or to extension of hospitalization. Now, then, it is clear that it is not a contraindication. More paracetamol is being used, I assume that because

'it stayed like this'

since what was said at the beginning of the pandemic, "he says. 

Eduardo López, renowned infectologist and advisor to President Alberto Fernández in the Health Committee created in the pandemic, continues to favor paracetamol in the first instance.

"If a patient does not have a fever with paracetamol, ibuprofen can be prescribed by mouth. But you have to be attentive to that persistent fever, if it does not decrease with the passing of days with paracetamol or ibuprofen. It is a guideline for alarm before the worsening of the disease ".


Look also

Fever, fatigue and post-vaccine pain: is it useful to take a painkiller before receiving a dose against Covid?

The dangers of "polypharmacy" in older adults

Source: clarin

All life articles on 2021-06-10

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