Should You Take Advil If You Have Coronavirus?

There have been many rumors circulating since the outbreak of the coronavirus, one of which is that using ibuprofen (brand name Advil) will make symptoms of the respiratory virus worse. According to USA Today, most medical professionals say that there is no concrete evidence Advil will make symptoms worse, though many suggest exercising caution when turning to ibuprofen to treat their symptoms.

England's National Health Service (NHS) released a statement regarding the effect Advil may have on coronavirus symptoms.

"There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse."
However, the statement added that "until [they] have more information," coronavirus patients should take acetaminophen (known as paracetamol in Europe, brand name Tylenol) to treat the symptoms of coronavirus -- which include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath -- unless the patient has been told by their doctor that it is not "suitable" for them. The NHS also recommends that if patients were already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) to address another health condition that they should consult their doctor before they stop using the medicine.

Both Tylenol and Advil alleviate fever and other symptoms caused by COVID-19. However, many health organizations rely on Tylenol as the preferred medicine for coronavirus patients. The NHS issued another paper earlier in the month saying that Tylenol was considered the "first line" of defense against a fever.

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Getty Images | Linnea Rheborg

Christian Lindmeier, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, said in a statement on Wednesday that they are aware of the concerns raised about the effect NSAIDs may have on coronavirus patients.

"WHO is gathering further evidence on this issue before making a formal recommendation, but after a rapid review of the literature, is not aware of published clinical or population-based data on this topic."

In previous discussions about the coronavirus, Lindmeier has recommended Tylenol for individuals who are self-treating at home.

Additionally, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, has spoken out about the debate on Advil's efficacy, but said that he has not seen any "firm data" to prove one way or another if NSAIDs could be problematic for patients with COVID-19. However, Fauci added that if reducing a fever is the primary goal, physicians generally believe Tylenol is a more effective treatment.

Generally, most medical experts feel that Tylenol should be a patient's go-to medicine to treat fever and pain associated with the virus. While there is no evidence that Advil can make coronavirus symptoms worse, it is advised that everyone exercise caution when using ibuprofen to battle the coronavirus.