I think I have COVID-19. Is it safe to use Advil?

Perhaps you’ve seen conflicting news reports about whether you should or shouldn’t take ibruprofen, commonly sold as Advil, if you have (or think you might have) COVID-19. So what’s the right answer?

The truth is, we don’t yet have any clear evidence one way or the other. 

The concern about ibuprofen came from an announcement by the French Health Minister, Olivier Veran, who said that people with COVID-19 should use acetaminophen (also known as Tylenol or paracetamol) instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. However, if this advice is based on specific data, it has not yet been shared with the public. 

While researchers have noted plausible hypotheses about why ibuprofen might be a problem here, this idea is purely theoretical when it comes to COVID-19. Currently, there is no credible evidence that ibuprofen will worsen your symptoms if you have COVID-19. In fact, the European Medicines Agency made a statement today that there is no evidence linking ibuprofen to COVID-19-related complications. And several leading medical doctors agreed with this point in interviews with NBC news today.

Based on the data we have right now, there are no special risks in using ibuprofen (Advil) --as needed and as directed--in the era of COVID-19.

Last updated: March 18, 2020 at 6:00pm ET

Science Review by: GSN, JAB