Estonia will not recommend ibuprofen for COVID-19 before results of trials ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Over-the-counter drugs. Photo is illustrative.
Over-the-counter drugs. Photo is illustrative. Source: ERR

The Estonian Medicines Agency is waiting on the outcome of British clinical trials of the effectiveness of ibuprofen as a treatment for the coronavirus (COVID-19) before it updates its guidelines and recommends it for use against the disease.

British researchers are starting to test the hypothesis that the use of ibuprofen may support the treatment of coronavirus patients. Studies to date have confirmed the effectiveness of ibuprofen called Flarin in the treatment of COVID-19 and now clinical trials are planned.

When the coronavirus outbreak began in March, the recommendation was to avoid the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to treat the disease, as French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen the effects of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) also issued this recommendation.

The Estonian Medicines Agency has also said in the media that paracetamol is their preferred option for treatment. Estonian family doctors have also followed these recommendations.

Karmen Joller, a member of the board of the Society of General Practitioners, assured ERR at the beginning of the outbreak family doctors followed WHO's warnings, but when new studies came to light, the treatment instructions were also updated.

The treatment guide for children with coronavirus, drawn up in mid-March, also mentions using both paracetamol and ibuprofen in parallel.

Estonia is waiting for the results of research

There is no ibuprofen with such a composition as Flarin on the Estonian market, but according to the Estonian Medicines Agency, this difference is not significant either.

"There is no such specific preparation of ibuprofen in Estonia, but it is unlikely that it differs from other ibuprofen in its main effect - if this drug affects the viral disease in any way, other ibuprofen will do the same," says Alar Irs, the Agency's medical adviser.

He said the uniqueness of Flarin is linked to the hope that the side effects of this gastrointestinal tract will be milder, but he has not seen any definite evidence for this. However, as this product is not used in Estonia, not all of the data may be available.

However, as, clinical trials of Flarin for the treatment of coronavirus are still pending, the medicines agency is in no hurry to change its recommendations.

"British researchers have a controversial hypothesis about the effect of ibuprofen on COVID, which they are still testing in a clinical trial. There is a general attitude that we will monitor what is happening in the world of science, and if there is enough reliable clinical scientific data on a topic, we will make recommendations for this practice," explained Irs.

The agency will continue to recommend paracetamol as its first choice.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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