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NHS Advises Against Taking Ibuprofen As Experts Fear It Could 'Aggravate' Coronavirus

NHS Advises Against Taking Ibuprofen As Experts Fear It Could 'Aggravate' Coronavirus

Brits suffering with coronavirus are being warned to no longer take ibuprofen, amid fears it could make symptoms worse.

On Tuesday, the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Parick Vallance advised that we should avoid purchasing ibuprofen altogether, as experts do not yet fully understand the effect it could have on the virus.

He said: "The sensible thing to do would be to say don't take [ibuprofen] at the moment, take something else - paracetamol or something."

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The NHS also withdrew its suggestion to take ibuprofen when fighting off a coronavirus-related cough and a fever - now only advising paracetamol.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: "There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse. But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you."


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They added that if you are taking another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory on the advice of a doctor, you should not stop without checking with them first.

The decision comes after doctors and foreign health officials begun to warn that they'd seen signs of ibuprofen making COVID-19 worse.

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The over-the-counter pill - typically used to treat menstrual periods, migraines, and rheumatoid arthritis, among other issues - works by reducing inflammation, which is how the immune system usually responds to an infection.

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The fear is that by reducing this natural reaction, it could actually be stopping people from being able to fight off coronavirus.

French health minister Olivier Véran was one of the first to trigger questions over the NHS' official advise as he warned that anti-inflammatories could "aggravate the infection".

Experts are warning against taking ibuprofen (Credit: PA)
Experts are warning against taking ibuprofen (Credit: PA)

Meanwhile, other leading medics made similar statements. Professor Paul Little, who conducts primary care research at the University of Southampton, said: "The general feeling is that the French advice is fairly sensible.

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"There is now a sizeable literature from case control studies in several countries that prolonged illness or the complications of respiratory infections may be more common when non-steroidal anti-inflammatories [NSAIDs] are used."

Research is still being done into the affects of ibuprofen (Credit: PA)
Research is still being done into the affects of ibuprofen (Credit: PA)

Before the NHS changed tact, Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, told The Guardian: "I would advise against [ibuprofen]. There's good scientific evidence for ibuprofen aggravating the condition and prolonging it. That recommendation needs to be updated".

It's important to note that the NHS advice is constantly changing and evolving as we learn more about COVID-19, but it's essential that we follow it and all do our bit to limit the spread of the virus and mitigate the symptoms.

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Tyla has contacted the NHS for comment.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Coronavirus, Health, Covid-19

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Joanna Freedman

Joanna is a journalist at Tyla with a particular interest in highlighting women's issues and telling inspiring first person stories. She's also their resident foodie, and loves covering exciting new beauty launches, too. Contact her at [email protected]