French authorities warned that widely used over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs may worsen the coronavirus. Popular over the counter anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen could worsen the effects of the coronavirus.
The country’s health minister, Olivier Véran, who is a qualified doctor and neurologist, tweeted on Saturday: “The taking of anti-inflammatories [ibuprofen, cortisone … ] could be a factor in aggravating the infection. In case of fever, take paracetamol. If you are already taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ask your doctor’s advice.”
Paracetamol is known in the US by the generic name acetaminophen and commonly by the brand name Tylenol, and “will reduce the fever without counterattacking the inflammation”.
Prof. Ian Jones, a virologist at the UK University of Reading advised: “There’s good scientific evidence for ibuprofen aggravating the condition or prolonging it.”
A recent scientific trial found patients with respiratory infections such as coughs, colds and sore throats who were prescribed ibuprofen rather than paracetamol by their GP were more likely to subsequently suffer severe illness or complications. Several other studies have linked anti-inflammatory drugs to worsened pneumonia.
Health officials point out that anti-inflammatory drugs are known to be a risk for those with infectious illnesses because they tend to diminish the response of the body’s immune system.