Earlier this month, France’s health minister created a stir after suggesting that Ibuprofen could be dangerous for COVID-19 patients, and paracetamol, commonly referred to as acetaminophen, should be used instead. While this news came from anecdotal cases of complications among young patients that had used Ibuprofen, studies suggest that there is no evidence for or against the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen for patients with COVID-19.
The studies reiterated what the World Health Organization and the FDA said about the consumption of Ibuprofen for coronavirus positive patients. Now, a study, led by researchers at King’s College London, also found other types of drugs, such as TNF blockers and JAK inhibitors safe to use. The article has been published in ecancermedicalscience, an open access oncology journal. It has been authored by researchers from King’s College London and Guy’s and St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, London.
Researchers analyzed 89 existing studies on other coronavirus strains such as MERS and SARS, as well the latest COVID-19, to find out if certain pain medications, steroids, and other drugs used in people already suffering from diseases should be avoided if they contract COVID-19.
“This pandemic has led to challenging decision-making about the treatment of COVID-19 patients who were already critically unwell. In parallel, doctors across multiple specialties are making clinical decisions about the appropriate continuation of treatments for patients with chronic illnesses requiring immune suppressive medication,” Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck, a cancer epidemiologist and an author on the paper, said.
While myths about non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen have been debunked, other types of drugs such as TNF blockers and JAK inhibitors, used to treat arthritis or other forms of inflammation, were also found to be safe to use.
The study also said that anti-interleukin-6 agents, which is another class of drug, is being investigated for helping to fight COVID-19. However, there is no conclusive proof so far.
The researchers also found that low amounts of prednisolone or tacrolimus therapy may be helpful in treating COVID-19.
“Current evidence suggests that low dose prednisolone (a steroid used to treat allergies) and tacrolimus therapy (an immunosuppressive drug given to patients who have had an organ transplant) may have beneficial impact on the course of coronavirus infections. However further investigation is needed,” co- author , Dr Sophie Papa, a medical oncologist and immunologist said.