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Information about Advil and COVID-19

Medical doctors and scientists agree that COVID-19 patients can use ibuprofen/Advil to treat pain and reduce fever.*

Ibuprofen/Advil is a leading over-the-counter fever and pain reliever that has been used safely and effectively for over 35 years in 40 countries. *At GSK, the makers of Advil, safety remains our number one priority, and we support the scientific pursuit of evidence for ibuprofen/Advil’s safe use – more information on this and answers to common questions are below. 

*When used as directed

What the Experts are Saying

GSK Statements

  • Richard Petruschke, PharmD

    Your safety, health, and trust in Advil (ibuprofen) is a huge responsibility that we take very seriously at GSK Consumer Healthcare.

    We know you’ve had questions about taking ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms and may have wondered if ibuprofen can make COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses worse. These questions may arise again as we head into this upcoming flu season and you reach for ibuprofen/Advil to treat flu-associated pain and fever when ill, just like you have in the past.

    We’ve been constantly monitoring and evaluating research papers recently published in a broad range of scientific or academic journals around the world. Experts have weighed in, and these papers provide public health authorities and the medical community with an opportunity to review, assess and share knowledge about the safe use of ibuprofen. These experts are from the fields of infectious disease, pain management, respiratory disease, and public health, among other medical fields. 

    The scientific consensus is clear. Over-the-counter (OTC) ibuprofen/Advil remains safe to use as directed. The current scientific literature does not show that OTC ibuprofen/Advil makes COVID-19 health outcomes worse, and the world’s leading health authorities have confirmed there is no evidence to recommend that COVID-19 patients avoid OTC ibuprofen. The safety profile of ibuprofen/Advil remains unchanged and information can be reviewed on our site.

    We are committed to an ongoing assessment of ibuprofen/Advil. While we have shared information as it became available through this site and other channels, we also want to provide a quick summary here of the research papers that have come to our attention.

    Based on the totality of available information, GSK Consumer Healthcare, alongside many public health authorities around the world, is confident in the safe and effective use of OTC Advil when used as directed. Please speak directly with your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare provider if you have questions about your individual treatment needs.

    From everyone at GSK, stay well and be safe.

    Recent Research Publications (March to September 2020)

  • GSK Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Advil, is aware of a recent correspondence in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine and comments from the French Ministry of Health that call attention to a potential hypothesis about the possibility of an association between the use of ibuprofen for treating symptoms of COVID-19 and the worsening of the virus’ outcome.

    We wish to reinforce the fact that the hypothesis was an idea intended for further scientific review and evaluation – and that it may be confusing to the general public if we draw any clinical conclusions from such a hypothesis. While the hypothesis is well-intentioned, it is not backed by clinical evidence or data, and can therefore be misleading to people who are anxious about what they should and shouldn’t do in the face of the COVID-19 threat.

    With that said, the editorial/hypothesis is also an important reminder that we, as healthcare professionals, have a critical role to play as we look to each other and work to make sense of the COVID-19 challenge and set a new scientific course for its treatment and management.

    We are uniquely poised to be especially observant, searching for patterns or empirical insights. We can and should share ideas and inspire scientific exchange where it belongs – among clinicians and medical communities. During these frightening times, we must also be focused on education and facts, especially when data is absent. Health professionals are well-positioned to readily and reliably reinforce public messaging, manage rumors and misinformation, and help push out credible information to increase awareness and minimize confusion and fear.

    We appreciate people are concerned about the use of ibuprofen and COVID-19. Our patients, families and friends need facts and guidance. While GSK will do everything we can to support further research into hypotheses that include our products, until there is evidence or medical consensus, we need to keep hypotheses in perspective and reassure people that there is no conclusive evidence that COVID-19 symptoms are worsened by ibuprofen.

    Here is what we know: 

    A communication recently published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine sought to summarize associations between cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and COVID-19 observed in Wuhan.  The authors suggested the disease states and medications used in their management may be associated with worse outcomes from COVID-19. The authors cited receptor modeling in an attempt to predict the ACE2 interactions of SARS-CoV-2. They hypothesize the expression of ACE2 was substantially increased in patients treated with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). They also implicated ibuprofen and thiazolidinediones in the upregulation of ACE2.  In evaluating the link between the comorbidities and COVID-19, Fang et al made assumptions regarding pharmacological interventions.  Actual treatment with ACEi or ARBs was not assessed in the 3 primary publications and this should be considered when interpreting the applicability of this information.

    This theory regarding the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) products specifically ibuprofen worsening COVID-19 symptoms is without clinical evidence and has caused considerable confusion and controversy within the media and on social media channels. 

    This is an emerging and rapidly evolving situation and because consumer safety is our foremost priority, we are closely monitoring independent statements from respected public health authorities and medical experts. 

    The WHO does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen and is not aware of reports of any negative effects of ibuprofen beyond the usual known side effects that limit its use in certain populations. The CDC is currently not aware of scientific evidence establishing a link between NSAIDs and worsening of COVID 19. Additionally, the majority of credentialed international health authorities continue to support the use of ibuprofen to treat the symptoms of COVID-19.

    Based on the best science available to us today about ibuprofen, including its well-established safety record, we encourage physicians to confidently provide their patients with guidance about the appropriate use of ibuprofen as a fever and pain reducer.

    We will continue to monitor the situation and provide you with updates as they come in. As always, we remain committed to providing balanced information about our medicines, maintaining transparency about our work, and always putting the interests of people who rely on our medicines first. 

  • Peter S. Van Zile, Pharm.D

    We know it’s a very challenging time for everyone, regardless of where you live. It is disquieting – and scary – to watch the COVID-19 pandemic escalate across the globe. And, as we watch more and more communities become significantly affected, we have many more questions about what we should and should not be doing. It is an unprecedented time, and people are urgently searching for accurate information they can rely on to safeguard their families and friends.  

    We want to help. Your safety, health and confidence in our products are at the forefront of everything we do at GSK Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Advil products. We know there have been questions and concerns about the use of Advil (ibuprofen) for COVID-19, and we have been working hard to make sure everyone who relies on ibuprofen to reduce their fever and relieve pain are getting the information they need.  

    As a medical professional, I have thoroughly reviewed and discussed with my peers the opinions of international health authorities, including the CDC, WHO, the NIH, and the FDA. With this in mind, I’d like to take a moment to put your questions about the use of Advil into perspective based on what we know about COVID-19 today and the historical facts we have at hand. 

    • Ibuprofen is safe and effective when use according to the labeled directions. Because the COVID-19 pandemic is still unfolding, we don’t have scientific data relating to the use of ibuprofen for COVID-19. However, Advil is one of the most well established, well studied, and well understood pain relievers in the world, with over three decades of data from safety studies to support use of ibuprofen to reduce fever and relieve minor aches and pain associated with the common cold or viral infections such as the flu 

    • The Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and Food and Drug Administration have shared a perspective. Based on currently available information, the majority of credentialed international health authorities continue to support its use to treat the symptoms of COVID-19. 

    • The public conversation was based on a scientific hypothesis that was intended for consideration among health professionals. The hypothesis was not meant to be a recommendation for the public to use or not use certain medicines, but instead to further investigation among the scientific community.  

    If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, contact your doctor immediately. Any decisions you make should always be made in partnership with a doctor who knows your health history and can examine your symptoms. If you are currently taking ibuprofen for a condition on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking your medication unless you first talk to them. 

    From everyone at GSK, stay well and be safe.

What You Need to Know

We know you may have questions about using ibuprofen with COVID-19. We will continue to provide updates here to address the most common questions that we are hearing from you.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) lists ibuprofen as an essential medicine for treating pain & fever associated with mild COVID-19 symptoms. Learn more about WHO’s Clinical Management of COVID-19 Interim Guidance (Page 54, here).
  • ABC News: When asked if Advil makes COVID-19 worse, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded, “no.” Read about the full article here: Matthew McConaughey grills Dr. Anthony Fauci in Instagram interview on COVID-19
  • CDC's Chief Medical Officer for the COVID-19 Response Discusses Ibuprofen and COVID-19

History

Patients and doctors have trusted Advil to deliver powerful relief from several kinds of pain, including headache, muscle aches, minor arthritis and other joint pain, and backache for more than three decades. When used as directed, Advil is a safe and effective pain reliever.

Beyond its efficacy, our No. 1 priority is Advil’s safety. Patients and doctors across the globe have trusted Advil to provide powerful relief, safely. At GSK, we are proud of the millions of those we’ve helped along the way.

Click here to learn more about Advil.