The World Health Organization has warned against the use of Ibuprofen to treat symptoms of coronavirus such as fever, runny nose, sore throat and cough.
WHO warning came on the heels of another warning by French health officials, that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen effects of the coronavirus.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran commenting on a recent study in The Lancet medical journal, said it was hypothesised that an enzyme boosted by anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen could facilitate and worsen COVID-19 infections.
Veran suggested that coronavirus cases should take paracetamol instead, while those already being treated with anti-inflammatory drugs should ask advice from their doctor.
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier, who reacted to the study, told newsmen in Geneva that the UN health agency’s experts were “looking into this to give further guidance.”
He added; “In the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That’s important.
“If ibuprofen had been prescribed by the healthcare professionals, then, of course, that’s up to them.”
AFP reported that a spokesperson for British pharmaceutical company Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Nurofen, said in an email statement that the company was aware of concerns raised about “the use of steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) products, including ibuprofen, for the alleviation of COVID-19 symptoms.”
“Consumer safety is our number one priority. Ibuprofen 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.
“We do not currently believe there is any proven scientific evidence linking over-the-counter use of ibuprofen to the aggravation of COVID-19.
“Reckitt Benckiser is engaging with the WHO, EMA (the European Medicines Agency) and other local health authorities on the issue and would provide any additional information or guidance necessary for the safe use of our products following any such evaluation.”