March 18, 2020 / 12:08 PM / 22 days ago

EU drugs watchdog says currently no evidence ibuprofen worsens COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Nurofen ibuprofen tablets

(Reuters) - The European Union’s healthcare regulator said on Wednesday there currently is no evidence which links anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen with the worsening of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it was monitoring the situation, adding that patients and healthcare professionals should consider all treatment options including paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs to treat fever or pain in patients with COVID-19. (bit.ly/2U0zLwC)

The watchdog is already looking to aid the development of a coronavirus vaccine and prevent supply bottlenecks and drug shortages due to the outbreak that has infected nearly 200,000 people across the globe. (reut.rs/2QtB3hE) (reut.rs/33wuQqy)

The EMA’s announcement follows a similar tone on Monday from Nurofen producer Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) to check reports that said the pills’ active ingredient ibuprofen would hurt patients.

“In line with EU national treatment guidelines, patients and healthcare professionals can continue using NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) as per the approved product information,” EMA said.

Based on the current advice, drugs such as ibuprofen must be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest period possible.

The EMA also said it was ready to support any studies looking into how these medicines affect patients with COVID-19.

The regulator’s safety committee in May began looking into the effects of the drugs following a survey which suggested that infection due to chickenpox and some bacterial infections could be made worse by the medicines.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shounak Dasgupta

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