There has been a bit of confusion over the effects that ibuprofen has on people suffering from the coronavirus.
As the BBC reports, there has been no research into ibuprofen — the main ingredient in Advil — and the new coronavirus. But there has been some for other respiratory infections, suggesting ibuprofen is linked to more complications and more severe illness. They note that it’s not clear that ibuprofen causes this, however. But they say that at least some experts believe that ibuprofen’s anti-inflammatory properties may affect the body’s immune response. They quote Professor Parastou Donyai at the University of Reading as saying, “There are many studies that suggest ibuprofen use during a respiratory infection can result in worsening of the disease or other complications.”
Dr. Amir Khan writes for Aljazeera that “Despite all of their beneficial effects, it has long been known that anti-inflammatories can have a depressive effect on parts of our immune systems. When it comes to taking them to help ease the symptoms of the common cold, we do not really have to worry about this slight but important reduction in the strength of our immune systems: We are very unlikely to develop complications from the common cold, let alone die from it.” But this becomes more of a factor with people dealing with the coronavirus, who cannot afford to have their immune system compromised.
A Facebook update by a British man telling the story of how ibuprofen harmed his stepdaughter, who has been stricken with coronavirus, has circulated widely. And while the BBC reports that there have been many false claims about ibuprofen and coronavirus, and Dr. Muge Cevik of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews recently tweeted that there’s no scientific evidence (that she’s aware of) to support that ibuprofen is harmful for people with coronavirus, that Tylenol is a better choice for people fighting coronavirus.
(Her tweet, embedded below, was a response to France’s Minister of Health, who tweeted that taking ibuprofen could be an aggravating factor in the infection.)