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Is it true that Ibuprofen can worsen coronavirus?

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers viewer question about coronavirus

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus, so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Click here if you want to submit a question about the coronavirus.

Dr. Frank McGeorge wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

Trust Index: Ibuprofen

Several viewers asked Local 4 to find out if it’s true that Ibuprofen -- a common fever and pain medication more popularly known as Motrin or Advil -- can worsen coronavirus. Dr. Frank McGeorge answers as part of the Trust Index series.

The original question appears to have come from a statement made by France’s health minister over the weekend. He suggested taking anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen or cortisone could worsen infection.

That has since been picked up by the internet, and it’s now being reported that Ibuprofen is dangerous with a coronavirus infection.

But there is absolutely no actual research or data to suggest Ibuprofen is dangerous with COVID-19. However, in other diseases, Ibuprofen isn’t completely harmless.

For example, there’s a growing body of evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen might increase the risk of having a stroke or a heart attack.

Ibuprofen has been linked to a rare infection in children with chickenpox, and there’s even a study from the Journal of Infections Diseases that found a higher rate of heart attacks in patients with respiratory infections.

For now, McGeorge is giving Ibuprofen a “be careful” rating on the Trust Index. In the absence of firm data, it’s premature to say Ibuprofen is harmful, but especially in older people, if there is a concern, take acetaminophen or Tylenol for a fever.


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