WHO steps in to end debate on Ibuprofen, says 'NO' to its prescription for Coronavirus patients

  • French minister tweeted saying anti-inflammatory painkillers could aggrevate symptoms of COVID-19

  • WHO now officially advised people to avoid taking ibuprofen for new Coronavirus symptoms

As French Health Ministry suggested that the ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug, could aggravate the impact of novel coronavirus infection, the World Health Organization too recommended Tuesday, March 17 that people with COVID-19 symptoms should avoid taking it.

The warning made by the ministry came after a recent research which claims that an enzyme boosted by anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen could worsen the infection caused by Novel Coronavirus.

WHO recommendation

It should be mentioned that after the study was published in The Lancet medical journal, the WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said that the experts were looking into this issues to give further guidance. In addition, Lindmeier mentioned that "in the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That's important."

He also added that the if the anti-inflammatory painkiller, ibuprofen had been prescribed by the doctors, "then, of course, that's up to them."

ibuprofen Wikimedia commons

Warning by French ministry

It should be mentioned that these comments from the WHO spokesperson came after French Minister Olivier Veran sent a tweet where he cautioned that the use of this medication and similar anti-inflammatory drugs could be aggravate the COVID-19 infection.

The minister stressed that people affected by the new strain of Coronavirus already being treated with anti-inflammatory medications should seek advice from healthcare professionals. Drugs the like paracetamol must be taken under strict supervision of the medical experts with proper amount of dose as too much excessive dose of such drugs can damage the liver.

As per a report, grave adverse effects are linked to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) , including ibuprofen. A WhatsApp message was circulated attributing the connection between ibuprofen and MedUni Vienna, one of the largest medical schools. The school later tweeted that:

"Attention! Currently circulating WhatsApp text and voice messages about alleged research results of the "Wiener Uniklinik" about a connection between Ibuprofen and Covid19 are #FakeNews, which have nothing to do with #MedUniWien."

The new strain of Coronavirus, has infected around 190,000 people and killed more than 7,800 individuals globally. The disease caused mild symptoms in most of them which can trigger pneumonia and, in some cases, severe illness which may lead to multiple organ failure.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

It should be noted that earlier, before the pandemic hit the world, French authorities raised concerns over the use of ibuprofen, which is sold under various brands like Nurofen and Advil, as well as other anti- inflammatory drugs.

A spokesperson for Reckitt Benckiser, which is a British hermetical company that makes Nurofen said that the firm was aware of the concerns raised about the use of steroids and NSAIDs medications including ibuprofen for the alleviation of Novel Coronavirus symptoms.

As per the spokesperson, the safety of the consumers is always the company's main priority. In terms of the use of ibuprofen he said that the this 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."

The statement also added that the drug manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser does not believe that "there is any proven scientific evidence linking over-the-counter use of ibuprofen to the aggravation of COVID-19."

In addition, the spokesperson said that the firm is engaging with the WHO, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other local health authorities on the issue. Reckitt Benckiser is asked to provide "any additional information or guidance necessary for the safe use of our products following any such evaluation."

Related topics : Coronavirus