Routine NSAID use not associated with poorer outcomes in patients hospitalised with COVID-19

An observational study shows “no significant negative effect” on mortality of routine use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in COVID-19 patients — and a “modest beneficial effect” may well exist.

ibuprofen tablets

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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has made this article free to access in order to help healthcare professionals stay informed about an issue of national importance.

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The study suggested that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, might confer some survival benefit for patients hospitalised with COVID-19

Routine use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might confer “modest” survival benefit for patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and is not associated with poorer outcomes, the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine (10 August 2020) have suggested[1]

In the observational study, the researchers collected data from 1,222 patients, via the COVID-19 in Older People study, who were hospitalised with COVID-19. Of these, 4.4% (n=54) were routinely prescribed NSAIDs prior to admission.

Through multivariable analysis, the researchers found no association between prior NSAID use and time to mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.52–1.53, P=0.67) or length of stay (aHR 0.89, 95% CI 0.59–1.35, P=0.58).

The authors said that patients and clinicians should not associate the routine use of NSAIDs with an increased risk of mortality in COVID-19 patients, and recommended that patients continued to comply with their baseline drug regimen.

“Our findings show no significant negative effect of routine NSAID use on mortality in patients with COVID-19. Indeed, a modest beneficial effect of routine NSAID use on mortality may well exist, though it cannot be concluded from the evidence presented here,” they added.

For information on the use of over-the-counter analgesics and COVID-19 see our Pharmacy Learning Centre on acute pain


[1] Bruce E, Barlow-Pay F, Short R et al. Prior routine use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and important outcomes in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. J Clin Med 2020;9(8):2586. doi: 10.3390/jcm9082586

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ November 2020, Vol 305, No 7943;305(7943)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2020.20208527

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