Scientists from Aberdeen University have taken part in a UK-wide study which has found ibuprofen does not increase the risk of death from coronavirus.
Conducted during the height of hospital admissions in the UK from Covid-19, it found the regular use of painkillers including ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac did not increase the risk of death from the disease.
The study’s authors came from Aberdeen University, Cardiff University and King’s College London, as well as UK health trusts and hospitals.
In early stages of the crisis, a number of European authorities including those in France and Belgium, issued reports which suggested the use of non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are commonly used drugs for pain and inflammation, may adversely affect patients’ clinical course and recovery.
Now, the new study is the first to report on NSAIDs and their impact on patients in the UK.
It assessed outcomes for more than 1,200 patients admitted to eight different hospitals in the UK, and found no clear evidence that routine NSAID use was associated with higher mortality rates from Covid-19.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Professor Phyo Myint, senior author of the study, from Aberdeen University, said: “There has been much speculation about the potential role of non- steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which increase the expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a molecule which sits on cell surfaces within the body and acts as the doorway for Covid-19 to enter.
“It has therefore been postulated that NSAID use could result in a higher viral infective load in the respiratory tract but much of the existing research in this area primarily references respiratory viruses other than Covid-19, such as severe acute respiratory virus (SARS) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS).
“As a result, the findings of these studies may not be applicable in Covid-19 infection and new research is needed.
“Our study looked specifically at hospitalised patients with Covid-19 infection in UK hospitals during the peak of the initial wave of the epidemic.”
The study found the death rate for those who took NSAIDs was broadly similar to those who did not.
Dr Eilidh Bruce, an academic trainee, who led the study, added: “Our findings show no significant negative effect of routine NSAID use on mortality in patients with Covid-19 infection. Indeed, a modest beneficial effect of routine NSAID use on mortality may well exist but our sample size was not sufficient to draw conclusions regarding this and further evidence is required to explore this possible correlation and subsequently guide public health policy.
“Our study has provided novel information into the impact of NSAID use and outcomes of Covid-19 disease, during a pandemic where there has been much uncertainty.”