Scientists are running a trial to see if ibuprofen can help hospital patients who suffer from Coronavirus.
They are assessing whether a special formulation of the drug could help reduce the serious side effect seen among coronavirus patients.
The team from London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital and King’s College believe the drug, which is an anti-inflammatory as well as a painkiller, could treat breathing difficulties.
They hope the low-cost treatment can keep patients off ventilators.
This could potentially lead to shorter hospital stays and fewer patients needing help in intensive care units (ICU).
A new trial, only hospitals participants
In the trial, called Liberate, they will give ibuprofen to half of the patients in addition to usual care.
They stressed that the trial was for hospitalised patients – not those who have mild or suspected Covid-19.
They will draw Participants from those who are hospitalised, but not so ill they are in need of intensive care.
The trial will use a special formulation of ibuprofen rather than the regular tablets that people might usually buy.
Some people already take this lipid capsule form of the drug for conditions like arthritis.
Prof Mitul Mehta, one of the team at King’s College London, said: “We need to do a trial to show that the evidence actually matches what we expect to happen.”
Ibuprofen results on animals, “very promising”
He said that animal studies into acute respiratory distress syndrome show that around 80% of animals with this condition die.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a symptom of Covid-19 disease.
But when they take this special formulation of ibuprofen the survival rates increase to 80%.
“This is very promising,” he said.
“But of course it is an animal study, so we want to translate that really compelling result into humans.”
Early in the pandemic, experts had some concerns that ibuprofen might be bad for people to take, should they have the virus with mild symptoms.
France’s health minister Oliver Veran heightened these when he said that taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, could aggravate the infection.
He advised patients to take paracetamol instead.
A review by the Commission on Human Medicines quickly concluded that paracetamol likes are safe to take for coronavirus symptoms.
Both can bring a temperature down and help with flu-like symptoms.
For mild coronavirus symptoms, the NHS advises people to try paracetamol first.
Because it has fewer side-effects than ibuprofen and is the safer choice for most people.
You should not take ibuprofen if you have a stomach ulcer, for example.