Updated: May 8, 2021 1:40:27 pm
The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, does not lead to higher rates of death or severe disease in patients who are hospitalised with Covid-19, according to a new observational study of more than 72,000 people in the UK published in The Lancet Rheumatology journal.
NSAIDs are common treatments for acute pain and rheumatological diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthrosis. Early in the pandemic, there was debate on whether the use of such drugs increased the severity of Covid-19, which led to urgent calls for investigations.
The ISARIC CCP-UK (International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium Clinical Characterisation Protocol United Kingdom) study found evidence that the continued use of NSAIDs in patients with Covid-19 is safe.
In the study, around a third of patients (30.4%. 1,279 out of 4,211) who had taken NSAIDs prior to hospital admission for COVID-19 died, a rate which was similar (31.3%. 21,256 out of 67,968) in patients who had not taken NSAIDs. In patients with rheumatological disease, the use of NSAIDs did not increase mortality.
In a press release from the journal publishers, Prof Ewen Harrison of the University of Edinburgh, lead author of the study, was quoted as saying: “NSAIDs are commonly used to treat people all over the world for a range of conditions, from minor aches and pains to chronic conditions such as arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Many people rely on them to be able to carry out their day-to-day activities. When the pandemic began over a year ago, we needed to be sure that these common medications would not lead to worse outcomes in people with COVID-19. We now have clear evidence that NSAIDs are safe to use in patients with COVID-19, which should provide reassurance to both clinicians and patients that they can continue to be used in the same way as before the pandemic began.”
The study collected data on the medication patients had been prescribed, were currently taking, or had taken within 14 days prior to being admitted to hospital, as well as demographic information, and medical history. The study cohort included patients with confirmed or highly suspected Covid-19 infection admitted to 255 healthcare facilities in England, Scotland, and Wales, between January and August 2020.
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