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WHO clarifies guidance on ibuprofen, says there's no evidence it can worsen COVID-19

Anti-inflammatory drug has been subject of conflicting reports since French health minister tweet Saturday

  1. Brandie Weikle · CBC News · Posted: Mar 18, 2020 1:42 PM ET | Last Updated: March 19,

The World Health Organization has said there's no evidence to suggest that using ibuprofen to manage symptoms of COVID-19 will worsen the condition.

Earlier reports said a spokesperson had cautioned against using ibuprofen to manage symptoms of the illness caused by novel coronavus until WHO experts could investigate.

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, or NSAID. It's sold under a number of brand names, including Advil and Nurofen. In addition to treating pain, it's often used to manage fever associated with various viral or bacterial infections.

WHO clarified its position Wednesday evening in a tweet saying "at present, based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen."

"There is no consistent evidence to suggest that ibuprofen worsens the disease, but we support the cautious approach as more evidence is collected," said the society's president, Munir Pirmohamed.

David Juurlink, head of the division of clinical pharmacology at the University of Toronto, said the concern about ibuprofen "doesn't seem to be based on a great deal of good evidence."

He said he worries that people who take ibuprofen to manage conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or other chronic pain will stop doing so out of concern about COVID-19. That's not advisable, especially without first speaking to your primary care physician.

Stay Safe - Roy Hillier

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