Study reinforces that ibuprofen does not make COVID worse

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

New analysis provides ‘further strength’ to the recommendation that it is safe to treat mild symptoms with ibuprofen...

However, Australia’s National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has continually recommended the use of paracetamol or ibuprofen as appropriate for symptomatic relief in mild cases.
 
Professor Mark Morgan, co-chair of the primary and chronic care expert panel for the Taskforce, told newsGP the group has never supported the ‘very shaky theoretical possibility’ of NSAIDs increasing COVID-19 severity.
 
‘We haven’t bought into that because it didn’t translate into any clinical evidence,’ he said. ‘This big data approach taken by the researchers is really further evidence and adds further strength to the recommendation to treat the symptoms of mild COVID with paracetamol or ibuprofen.
 
‘Some people can’t take anti-inflammatories, but for the people that [can] it’s safe to prescribe and it’s a reasonable choice for the management of COVID symptoms.’
 
However, the findings remain important for general practice given GPs care for the vast majority of mild COVID cases in Australia.
 
‘Four out of five people will have a mild course of COVID, so they won’t need to be looked after in a hospital setting,’ Professor Morgan said.
 
‘There are some states still doing the hospital-in-the-home setting for those people as a mechanism of monitoring their progress, but it really is within the remit of general practice to look after people with mild disease.’
 
Professor Morgan said the research also serves as an important reminder to rely on trusted sources of information supported by strong evidence.
 
‘We’ve seen a tremendous lot of people, and quite often not people who have particular expertise in the area, jumping on media releases where the evidence hasn’t been presented,’ he said. ‘That’s clearly wrong.
 
‘It has happened time and again during the pandemic – people jumping on particular bandwagons – and it’s really hard to know sometimes what the motivation is for doing that.
 
‘You’re seeing it happen with people advising the use of plasma, or people advising the use of all those treatments that when you look in the national clinical evidence taskforce guidelines are listed as “do not use unless it’s part of a clinical trial”.
 
‘[Such a listing] is really a very clear indication that we’ve looked closely at the evidence and not found enough to make a clinical decision to use a treatment, especially a harmful treatment.
 
‘It’s the same with stopping or avoiding use of a treatment that that’s likely to be beneficial. You don’t stop doing something normally beneficial unless you’ve got some pretty clear evidence to suggest you should be stopping.’

Subject

Covid-19

Ibuprofen

National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce

Period11 Sep 2020

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleStudy reinforces that ibuprofen does not make COVID worse
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletNews GP
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date11/09/20
    DescriptionNew analysis provides ‘further strength’ to the recommendation that it is safe to treat mild symptoms with ibuprofen....

    However, Australia’s National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has continually recommended the use of paracetamol or ibuprofen as appropriate for symptomatic relief in mild cases.

    Professor Mark Morgan, co-chair of the primary and chronic care expert panel for the Taskforce, told newsGP the group has never supported the ‘very shaky theoretical possibility’ of NSAIDs increasing COVID-19 severity.

    ‘We haven’t bought into that because it didn’t translate into any clinical evidence,’ he said. ‘This big data approach taken by the researchers is really further evidence and adds further strength to the recommendation to treat the symptoms of mild COVID with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

    ‘Some people can’t take anti-inflammatories, but for the people that [can] it’s safe to prescribe and it’s a reasonable choice for the management of COVID symptoms.’

    However, the findings remain important for general practice given GPs care for the vast majority of mild COVID cases in Australia.

    ‘Four out of five people will have a mild course of COVID, so they won’t need to be looked after in a hospital setting,’ Professor Morgan said.

    ‘There are some states still doing the hospital-in-the-home setting for those people as a mechanism of monitoring their progress, but it really is within the remit of general practice to look after people with mild disease.’

    Professor Morgan said the research also serves as an important reminder to rely on trusted sources of information supported by strong evidence.

    ‘We’ve seen a tremendous lot of people, and quite often not people who have particular expertise in the area, jumping on media releases where the evidence hasn’t been presented,’ he said. ‘That’s clearly wrong.

    ‘It has happened time and again during the pandemic – people jumping on particular bandwagons – and it’s really hard to know sometimes what the motivation is for doing that.

    ‘You’re seeing it happen with people advising the use of plasma, or people advising the use of all those treatments that when you look in the national clinical evidence taskforce guidelines are listed as “do not use unless it’s part of a clinical trial”.

    ‘[Such a listing] is really a very clear indication that we’ve looked closely at the evidence and not found enough to make a clinical decision to use a treatment, especially a harmful treatment.

    ‘It’s the same with stopping or avoiding use of a treatment that that’s likely to be beneficial. You don’t stop doing something normally beneficial unless you’ve got some pretty clear evidence to suggest you should be stopping.’
    Producer/AuthorMatt Woodley
    PersonsMark Morgan