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Is it true that some pain relievers can worsen coronavirus symptoms?

Coronavirus and Ibuprofen
Coronavirus and Ibuprofen

Researchers are working hard to understand as much as possible about the novel coronavirus and information seems to be changing constantly.

You may have heard that taking certain pain relievers can worsen the virus. But is this claim true?

Americans take about 30 billion doses of ibuprofen or similar drugs every year. But recent reports have some confused about whether this common medicine is safe to take during the coronavirus outbreak.

In mid-March, researchers reviewed three studies that included nearly 1,300 patients with severe COVID-19. They then published a letter in the Lancet, which suggested that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, like ibuprofen, may worsen the body’s response to the coronavirus. Leading health experts to start recommending other options.

“If you do have a fever, Tylenol would be a safer drug at this time,” said cardiologist Dr. Scott Greenwood.

But in late March, the World Health Organization modified its stance, saying there’s currently no proven scientific link between ibuprofen and more severe illness, but more studies need to be done.

One theory for why ibuprofen could worsen outcomes is that high doses can damage the kidneys. Too much ibuprofen can also cause rare but serious side effects, such as stomach bleeding, increased blood pressure, and heart attack or stroke.

But right now, scientists are unclear whether there’s a link between the popular medicine and the virus that’s plagued the world.

A study from Boston University found that 15% of adults take more than the recommended daily maximum amount of ibuprofen.