FDA Advises Patients on Use of Non-Steroidal, Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for COVID-19

[3/19/2020] FDA is aware of news reports stating the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, could worsen coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These news reports followed a March 11, 2020 letter in The Lancet medical journalExternal Link Disclaimer, which hypothesized that an enzyme (a molecule that aids a biochemical reaction in the body) is increased by NSAIDs and could aggravate COVID-19 symptoms.

At this time, FDA is not aware of scientific evidence connecting the use of NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, with worsening COVID-19 symptoms. The agency is investigating this issue further and will communicate publicly when more information is available. However, all prescription NSAID labels warn that “the pharmacological activity of NSAIDs in reducing inflammation, and possibly fever, may diminish the utility of diagnostic signs in detecting infections.”

For those who wish to use treatment options other than NSAIDs, there are multiple over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications approved for pain relief and fever reduction. FDA suggests speaking to your health care professional if you are concerned about taking NSAIDs and rely on these medications to treat chronic diseases.

FDA advises the public to read the full Drug Facts Label on OTC medications prior to use. OTC medications are safe and effective when you follow the directions on the label and/or as directed by your health care professional. Patients who use prescription drugs should take these medications as directed by your health care professional and in accordance with instructions on the label.

FDA encourages health care professionals and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of any medication to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program:

  • Complete and submit the report online; or
  • Download and complete the form, then submit it via fax at 1-800-FDA-0178

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