Published on 31 March 2020

Painkiller may have adverse effects when taken with some diabetes medicines.

The government has issued a statement saying that there is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.

The statement read: “We are aware there has been concern spreading about the use of ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) in relation to COVID-19.”

Until more information is available it is recommended to take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

However, there is currently no research into ibuprofen and the new coronavirus, including any link between ibuprofen and the likelihood of contracting the virus and the worsening of coronavirus symptoms

NHS guidance reminds people to be aware that ibuprofen doesn't mix well with some medicines, including treatments for diabetes, such as gliclazide, glimepiride, glipizide and tolbutamide.

For safety it is recommended to tell your doctor if you are taking these medicines before you start taking ibuprofen orally or using it on your skin.

Ibuprofen applied to the skin is less likely to interfere with other medicines than if it is taken orally.

A image of Covid-19 virus

People with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, or if they believe they have the virus, should take paracetamol in preference to ibuprofen.

People currently advised to use ibuprofen by their healthcare professional should not stop using them.

The government statement added: “There is some debate suggesting NSAIDs may increase complications from simple acute respiratory infections or slow recovery. The product information of many NSAIDs already contains warnings that their anti-inflammatory effects may hide the symptoms of a worsening infection. However, the evidence is not conclusive.

“In view of the current lack of research the Commission on Human Medicines (an expert advisory body of MHRA) and NICE have been asked to review the evidence.”

Although there is no official statement from the NHS on the risk of having the coronavirus (COVID-19) and living with diabetes it is recommended that the same safety precautions are observed as when sick.

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