COVID-19: France says ibuprofen may aggravate coronavirus. Experts say more evidence is needed:
This short article describes the effects of popular anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen, suggested by the health ministry of France.
This suggestion was given in a tweet on Saturday by Olivier Veran, a neurologist and the Health Minister of France.
According to him, anyone among us grieving from fever should practice paracetamol or consult your doctor for advice if you are already using anti-inflammatory medicines.
Some health experts have highly criticized this suggestion as this idea has not been supported by sufficient proof, there is not any published content available that could scientifically back this belief.
However, Veran put forward his view on the same day the French government announced the adverse effects which non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) have put on the potential and confirmed patients who are suffering from Covid-19.
The ministry’s new guidelines say that paracetamol is a drug widely used for curing fever or pain linked to COVID-19 and paracetamol for treating any other respiratory viral disease.
US’s prominent news network CNN has already contacted the French Health Ministry about Veran’s tweet as it has raised several concerns, mainly in France over the effects of ibuprofen for the cure of the coronavirus.
A researcher, Muge Cevik, at the University of St Andrews Infection and Global Health Division, has shown her primary concern over the bold recommendation of Veran. She said in one of his tweets that “Deeply concerned about this bold statement by the French MoH with no reference to the claim, which is causing public concern.
There’s no scientific evidence I am aware of that ibuprofen cause worst outcomes in #COVID19.”.
Professor, Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, of pediatrics and infectious disease epidemiologist at Stanford University in California has also said that she doesn’t think that any definite proof is present which could show that ibuprofen worsens the COVID-19.
Despite all of the above criticisms against Veran’s belief of ibuprofen, some specialists believe, that Veran’s advice is according to guidelines provided by some countries about anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen despite the facts that there is no sound link of this drug with the coronavirus.
Rupert Beale, a leading figure in Cell Biology of Infection at the UK’s Francis Crick Institute, told the UK’s Science Media Centre that ibuprofen could be avoided in critical kidney injury caused by any severe disease, including worst COVID-19 as it may increase this illness. He further said that there is no other reason to avoid it for COVID-19.
Dr. Yvonne Maldonado said that she is unaware of any evidence supporting Veran’s idea except that there might be some risk involved if the drug stifles the immune response system, which is vital for fighting off the disease.
According to the opinion of many doctors and researchers, much evidence is required to draw any secure connection between ibuprofen and COVID-19. NSAID like ibuprofen is often used to treat fever which is a much common underlying symptom of the virus.
Paracetamol’ generally preferred’ over ibuprofen:
A more likely reason why France has criticized the use of paracetamol and ibuprofen is that it has more strict laws and regulations on the use and sale of painkillers than many other countries.
According to Charlotte Warren-Gash, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, older people are the most vulnerable to catch COVID-19, and most deaths are also registered among these elderly citizens and those having symptoms of cardiovascular disease. He added that NSAIDs should be used in caution by the people who already are suffering from other diseases.
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, suggests that the patients with other diseases should be given a minor dose of ibuprofen for a short time so that the effects of cardiovascular or kidney problems could be avoided. Although, it has been advised to use ibuprofen over paracetamol for inflammatory issues like arthritis, but not to be taken for long durations.
The Public Health England agency also says there is not sufficient evidence to advise people to shift to other painkillers. Britain too doesn’t support France’s intentions and has advised patients that they should keep using ibuprofen for treating COVID-19.
Warren-Gash has advised that more research is needed to use NSAIDs on people who have other diseases while taking into consideration the seriousness of their infections
Tom Wingfield, a lecturer and consultant physician at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said that ibuprofen has often been found to cause kidney irritation and stomach indigestion in few people whereas, paracetamol has lesser side effects than ibuprofen.
Tom Wingfield has also told that currently, it is not clear that whether the views of the French Minister have any reality or not in the sense of Covid-19, whatever the truth is will become transparent soon.
In all over Europe, including France, certain restrictions have been placed on supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and clubs as a precaution to spread of coronavirus.