How to be medicinewise with ibuprofen in times of COVID-19

NPS MedicineWise

The regular medicinewise advice still applies when using medicines to treat a fever, according to advice issued today by NPS MedicineWise.

Looking for reliable, evidence-based information to help you make decisions is key – and asking questions is an important part of being medicinewise all the time, and even more critical during a pandemic.

NPS MedicineWise medical adviser and general practitioner Dr Jill Thistlethwaite says evidence and research about COVID-19 is growing and evolving all the time, so it can be hard to find clear information, but common sense should still apply.

“There has been a lot of interest recently about whether or not you should use ibuprofen to help reduce fever in times of COVID-19,” says Dr Thistlethwaite.

New information on the NPS MedicineWise website explains that currently there is not enough evidence to suggest that ibuprofen makes things worse if you have COVID-19.

“At the moment our advice about using medicines to help reduce fever, due to COVID-19 or other infections, remains the same,” says Dr Thistlethwaite.

Paracetamol is the first choice medicine to help reduce fever in most cases. People with chronic liver disease should speak to their doctor before using paracetamol.

Ibuprofen is another medicine that can be used to help reduce fever, but it should not be taken by everybody. It is generally not recommended for people with asthma, who are pregnant, have heart, kidney or liver disease, or who have or have had stomach ulcers or bleeding.

“Remember that the dose you need of a medicine may be different for different ages, so it is important to follow the instructions on the packaging or from your health professional,” says Dr Thistlethwaite.

“Always check the active ingredient of your medicines so that you don’t take too much paracetamol, ibuprofen or some other medicine over 24 hours.

“It is also important to remember that a fever is a normal response of the body to many illnesses and that a mild fever may help get rid of an infection, therefore medicines are not always needed,” she says.

In these times it is especially important to be medicinewise. If you have any questions about your medicines and how to use them: ask.

• Your doctor or pharmacist are trusted sources of information.

• If you don’t want to leave the house you can also call Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) with questions about your medicines.

• The NPS MedicineWise COVID-19 information hub is regularly updated to provide the latest evidence-based information relating to medicines.

• Don’t forget to keep an up-to-date list of all the medicines you take.

/Public Release.