On Saturday, the French health minister, Olivier Véran, tweeted that taking anti-inflammatory drugs—even over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, Advil, and Aleve—could worsen cases of COVID-19. “If you are already taking anti-inflammatory drugs or you have questions, ask your doctor for advice,” he tweeted in French. This advice, which was not backed by any peer-reviewed scientific paper or any other release of evidence, is raising eyebrows in the public health world.
Health authorities, scientists and doctor around the world, casted their doubts on this stance amongst those, Carlos Del Rio, a physician and professor of public health and medicine at Emory University who is on the front lines of COVID-19. “I have no data to support this. I don’t know where he’s coming from,” Del Rio said. “I need to see a study that shows that. It’s a pretty strong statement. Some studies suggest that NSAIDS could impede a person’s immune response, but the degree to which that would influence the outcomes of people with COVID-19 hasn’t been studied or identified by any official studies or statements”.
At the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, the infectious disease researchers echoed this concern on Twitter. “If French clinicians are observing a signal this should be communicated appropriately within a context. We need proper risk communication here.”
Spain through the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Healthcare Products (AEMPS) reported: “There is currently no data that allows us to affirm an aggravation of the COVID-19 infection with ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, so there is no reason for patients who are on chronic treatment with these drugs to interrupt them. The possible link between the exacerbation of infections with ibuprofen or ketoprofen is a signal that is being evaluated for the whole European Union in the Committee for Risk Assessment in Pharmacovigilance at the request of the French medicines agency (ASNM)”.
This analysis is expected to be completed in May 2020 but, with the information available, it is complex to determine whether this association exists, as ibuprofen is used to treat the initial symptoms of infections and therefore the cause-effect relationship is not easy to establish.
The Yucatan Times
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