Does ibuprofen worsen coronavirus? Canadian pharmacists say evidence is lacking

A suggestion out of France that taking popular anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen could worsen the effects of the novel coronavirus has raised concerns over what to take to treat mild symptoms.

“In case of fever, take paracetamol,” he said. “If you are already taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ask your doctor’s advice.”

At this point, there isn’t enough evidence to say whether it’s harmful or beneficial, said Barry Power, spokesperson for the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

“There is some evidence to support the claim, but there’s just as much evidence to not support it,” he told Global News.

“It’s definitely a point of controversy.”

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, which include aspirin and ibuprofen, are common over-the-counter medications primarily used to treat inflammation, pain and fever.

The World Health Organization has advised those experiencing mild symptoms of the virus to treat it like you would the common cold: get plenty of rest, drink fluids and a take an antipyretic — which includes NSAIDS like Advil or ibuprofen — for aches and fevers.

However, the agency has cautioned that while ibuprofen may help to alleviate some symptoms, it can also mask them should they get worse.

Power said there are “small cases” that suggest some that ibuprofen can complicate certain types of pneumonia — also a respiratory infection.

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