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UPDATED: WHO Retracts Statement on Avoiding Ibuprofen as Self-Medication for COVID-19

There's a chance that it's increasing the risk of developing the coronavirus.
UPDATED: WHO Retracts Statement on Avoiding Ibuprofen as Self-Medication for COVID-19
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There's a chance that it's increasing the risk of developing the coronavirus.

*This story has been updated at 12:25 p.m. on March 19, 2020. The original article, "Avoid Taking Ibuprofen as Self-Medication for COVID-19 Symptoms, WHO Advises," was published on March 18, 2020.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a new statement today, March 19, 2020, regarding avoiding ibuprofen for treating COVID-19 symptoms. This comes after their advise yesterday, March 18, to avoid the use of the said drug.

"Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen," they state in a Facebook post. "WHO is aware of concerns on the use of ibuprofen for the treatment of fever for people with COVID-19. We are consulting with physicians treating the patients and are not aware of reports of any negative effects, beyond the usual ones that limit its use in certain populations."

The post retracts a previous statement given by WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier, who advised against using ibuprofen after French health officials reported that the anti-inflammatory drug could worsen the virus' symptoms.

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Original article published March 18, 2020:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is now recommending avoiding the use of ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms.

The statement was issued after French Health Minister Olivier Veran sent a tweet stating that anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and cortisone "could be an aggravating factor of the infection." He then suggested taking paracetamol instead if you have a fever, and to consult your doctor if you were prescribed with an anti-inflammatory drug beforehand.

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Three days prior to the tweet, a study published in The Lancet journal suggested that taking anti-inflammatory drugs stimulate an enzyme that "increases the risk of developing severe and fatal COVID-19."

To address the concerns about ibuprofen, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told the press that they are currently looking into the matter. "In the meantime, we recommend using paracetamol [instead], and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That's important," the spokesman added.

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However, Lindmeier says that those prescribed with anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen for their symptoms may decide for themselves whether to continue taking the drug.

In contrast, the Australian Department of Health dismissed this advice and recommended to continue taking the medication unless your situation suggests otherwise. "Over the counter anti-inflammatories, provided they are not contraindicated in particular individuals, may play a role in general symptomatic management of mild cases of COVID-19 disease," said the agency, according to 7 News.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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