Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen. (Twitter announcement)
- Starting date: March 20, 2020
- Type of communication: Information
- Update Subcategory: Drugs
- Source of recall: Health Canada
- Issue: Important Safety
- Information Audience: General Public, Healthcare Professionals
- Identification number: RA-72633
Product: Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Issue: We are aware of reports, including on social media, that reference safety issues with the use of ibuprofen in COVID-19 cases. There is no scientific evidence that establishes a link between ibuprofen and the worsening of COVID-19 symptoms.
What to do: If you have symptoms of COVID-19, speak with your healthcare provider regarding the most appropriate health products for the treatment of fever or pain. If you are currently taking ibuprofen, especially for a chronic illness, do not stop taking your medication.
OTTAWA – Health Canada is aware of reports, including on social media, that reference safety issues with the use of ibuprofen in COVID-19 cases. There is no scientific evidence that establishes a link between ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and the worsening of COVID-19 symptoms. The Government of Canada is monitoring the situation closely, including reviewing new information and reports as they become available, and will take the appropriate action to help protect the health and safety of Canadians.
Some reports have suggested that there are risks of using ibuprofen to treat symptoms of infection. In August 2019, Health Canada initiated a safety review of ibuprofen and the risk of certain serious bacterial infections in children with chicken pox, and has recently concluded there was no link. A summary of this review is expected to be published shortly.
When choosing a fever or pain relief medication for COVID-19, patients and healthcare professionals should consider all available treatment options, including acetaminophen and other NSAIDs. Each product has its own benefits and risks, listed in the product labelling.
Ibuprofen is an NSAID used for pain and fever relief, and to reduce inflammation. The majority of ibuprofen products in Canada are available over-the-counter (e.g., Advil and Motrin). NSAIDs, as with acetaminophen, may mask the usual signs and symptoms of an infection. Patients should consult with their healthcare professional if symptoms persist.
It is important to note that Canadians who currently use any NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen) to treat their chronic diseases should not stop their treatment and should speak to their healthcare professional if they have any questions about changing medications.