Common painkillers not linked to more severe COVID-19, study shows

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a new study, researchers found that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and diclofenac, is not linked to any adverse effects in people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Southern Denmark and elsewhere.

During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns were raised that the use of the painkiller ibuprofen may lead to a more severe course of coronavirus disease.

As the use of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs is widespread, data on their safety is urgently needed to guide clinicians and patients.

In the new study, researchers obtained data on all 9,326 people who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus between February 27, 2020, and April 29, 2020.

248 people (2.7%) had filled a prescription for NSAIDs within 30 days of their positive virus test.

The researchers found no association between any of the outcomes and NSAID use.

Among NSAID users in a matched cohort who tested positive for the coronavirus, 6.3% died, 24.5% were hospitalized and 4.9% were admitted to ICU.

Of those who tested positive for the coronavirus but were not treated with NSAIDs, 6.1% died, 21.2% were hospitalized, and 4.7% were admitted to ICU.

None of these differences between groups were statistically significant.

The team says considering the available evidence, there is no reason to withdraw well-indicated use of NSAIDs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the well-established adverse effects of NSAIDs, particularly their renal, gastrointestinal, and heart effects, should always be considered, and NSAIDs should be used in the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible duration for all patients.

One author of the study is Anton Pottegård.

The study is published in PLOS Medicine.

Copyright © 2020 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.