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Sensible to avoid ibuprofen for coronavirus, says top adviser

The Government’s chief scientific adviser has said people would be ‘sensible’ to take paracetamol rather than ibuprofen for coronavirus (Covid-19).

This comes as some scientists had warned that ibuprofen may worsen the symptoms of respiratory illness, referring to a study published in the BMJ in 2013.

Giving evidence to the House of Commons health and social care committee today, Sir Patrick Vallance said ‘it may or not be right, I don’t know, but the sensible thing to do at the moment would be to say “well, don’t take them, take something else, paracetamol or something’.

He also addressed concerns that had been raised about anti-hypertensive drugs, but did not advise against them.

Sir Patrick said: ‘There are theoretical reasons around ace inhibitors, which are quite interesting. But I don’t see strong compelling data yet to know whether that’s real or not and that’s being looked at.’

The Council on Hypertension of the European Society of Cardiology has said that GPs should continue treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs.

Last week, France’s health minister Olivier Véran, who is a qualified doctor, tweeted that anti-inflammatory medicines including ibuprofen and cortisone ‘could be a factor in aggravating the [Covid-19] infection’.

Sir Patrick’s comments about taking paracetamol comes as GPs have told Pulse they are struggling with demand for prescriptions from patients who are unable to source paracetamol and Calpol in the shops due to panic buying.

Pulse has asked NHS England for their advice to GPs on the matter.