RCPCH publishes advice about anti-inflammatory medicines and COVID-19

We respond to reports about the use of ibuprofen and anti-inflammatory medicines in the treatment of COVID-19.

Experts at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have recommended that parents treat symptoms of fever or pain related to COVID-19 with paracetamol, rather than ibuprofen. While there is no significant scientific evidence that ibuprofen is associated with worse outcomes in COVID-19 infection, this advice is offered as a precaution.

Patients who have been prescribed anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, diclofenac or naproxen should not stop taking them unless advised to do so by a health professional.

Catrin Barker, Chair of the RCPCH Medicines Committee and Chief Pharmacist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said:

We are issuing this guidance as a precaution and to give certainty to parents. We know there has been a lot of information circulating on social media and reported in the press about the safety of anti-inflammatory medicine. Our advice to parents is to treat symptoms with paracetamol and follow our guidance about managing symptoms of fever.

To manage symptoms of fever:

  • Keep your child well hydrated – give plenty of fluids to drink.
  • Tepid sponging is not recommended.
  • Children with fever should not be under-dressed or over-wrapped.

Use of medicines:

  • There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make COVID-19 worse. However, until we have more information we recommend you give paracetamol, if needed, to treat symptoms of fever or pain unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for your child.
  • Continue to give paracetamol only for as long as the child appears distressed due to the high temperature.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging for the appropriate dose for your child’s age.
  • If you continue to be worried about your child’s health, consider seeking advice through NHS 111.

The Committee of Human Medicines (an advisory body of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) and NICE have been asked to review the evidence.

This position will be kept under constant review.

Media contact:

Carmel Turner, Senior Media Lead

T: 020 7092 6067 | M: 07772 686022 | press.office@rcpch.ac.uk