Study: Ibuprofen among drugs found safe to use in treatment of coronavirus

LONDON — Ibuprofen is fine for coronavirus patients to take, according to a new study just released by King’s College London. Researchers say there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other regarding the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for COVID-19 patients.

The study’s authors also concluded that various types of other drugs, such as TNF blockers (Humira, Enbrel) and JAK inhibitors (Olumiant, Xeljanz, Rinvoq), are safe for coronavirus patients.

To draw these conclusions, scientists analyzed 89 previous studies that had been conducted on other coronavirus strains (SARS, MERS) and any available research on COVID-19 as well. They looked specifically to see if any steroids, pain medications, or other drugs have had an adverse reaction on earlier coronavirus patients.

It’s incredibly important for doctors to have a full spectrum of knowledge on how medications interact with COVID-19. For example, if a cancer patient were be infected with the coronavirus, it’s very likely that person would already be on a regiment of either immunosuppressive or immunostimulant drugs. In such a case, it would be imperative for his or her doctor to know which medications to stop.

“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,” comments study author Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck, a cancer epidemiologist, in a release.

There has been a great deal of speculation in the media that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may be harmful for COVID-19 patients. The research team found no evidence to back up this claim.

TNF blockers and JAK inhibitors, meanwhile, are primarily used to treat inflammation. These drugs were also found to be safe for coronavirus patients. Researchers are also currently investigating the benefits of a drug called anti-interleukin-6 agents in the fight against COVID-19, but so far results have been inconclusive.

However, low doses of prednisolone or tacrolimus therapy have shown promise as an effective coronavirus treatment.

“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,” Dr. Sophie Papa, a medical oncologist and immunologist, comments.

The study is published in ecancermedicalscience.

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John Anderer

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