HSE Press Release

Monday, 16th March 2020

HSE advice about anti-inflammatory medication and COVID-19

The HSE is today, (Monday 16th March 2020), advising anyone with Covid-19 to continue to take any medication you were already taking, unless you are told not to by a healthcare professional.  This includes anti-inflammatories (NSAID) such as ibuprofen, naproxen or diclofenac.

In response to false information about anti-inflammatory medication and Covid-19 circulating in media and on social media over the last 24 hours, Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE advises, “Only take one anti-inflammatory medication at a time.  It is okay to take paracetemol and an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen at the same time.

“There is no evidence to stop any medication at this time. There is no need to order more medicines than you need, as this will affect the supply of medicines to others, and there is no disruption to the supply of medicines.  If you have respiratory symptoms, do not attend your pharmacy in person. Phone your pharmacist if you need to order a prescription. Ask a family member to collect any medicines you need.

“We are constantly evaluating emerging evidence about the most appropriate treatment of Covid-19.  There is no specific treatment for coronavirus but many of the symptoms of the virus can be treated.  If you get the virus, your healthcare professional will advise treatment based on your symptoms. The appropriate medication for an individual with symptoms of Covid-19 will depend on your symptoms, your other conditions and your other medication.”

HSE information regarding treatment of symptoms of Covid-19:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help with symptoms such as pain or fever.  Paracetamol is usually recommended as the first-line treatment for most people. Before taking any medication you should read the full

package leaflet that comes with your medicine. You should also follow any advice a healthcare professional gives you.

  • Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus or any viruses. They only work against bacterial infections.
  • Supportive treatments, like oxygen therapy, can be given while your own body fights the virus. Life support can be used in extreme cases.
  • Regular medication, including anti-inflammatory medication, may be continued by people with COVID-19, unless advised otherwise by their healthcare professional. Only one anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID, e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac) should be taken at a time.  An NSAID and paracetamol may be taken together if required.

Please see www.hse.ie/coronavirus for official information about Covid-19.