(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it is not aware of scientific evidence connecting the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen, with worsening COVID-19 symptoms. The agency said it is aware of news reports stating the use of these medicines – commonly used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and bring down fever – could worsen the infection caused by the coronavirus. Particularly after France’s health minister suggested that NSAIDs could worsen COVID-19, demand for alternatives such as Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol surged, prompting the drugmaker to scale up production.
J&J is running its Tylenol manufacturing at maximum capacity in North America to meet surging demand due to the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, a top executive said on Thursday.
The issue is being further investigated and more information will be made public when available, the FDA said.
However, the agency added that all prescription NSAID labels warn that the use of these medicines may diminish the utility of diagnostic signs in detecting infections.
On Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency also said that there is no scientific evidence showing that the widely used anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen worsens the effects of the coronavirus.
(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)