By Paul M. Dake, M.D.
Q: I saw my family doctor last week for a blood pressure check and asked about the best way to treat symptoms of suspected COVID-19 virus infection. She told me that I shouldn’t take Motrin (ibuprofen) for the fever and body aches that usually come with it, but she didn’t have time to tell me why. Can you help?
A: I would congratulate your doctor for being so attentive to the medical literature on this topic. This recommendation came from a recent article in the highly respected British Medical Journal.
The reason for the recommendation you received is that the entire class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; ibuprofen and naproxen can be purchased without a prescription, but prescription NSAIDs include [generic names] celecoxib, etodolac, meloxicam, ketorolac, and several others) appears to block chemical reactions in the body that lead to inflammation, which lessens the body aches that are largely caused by inflammation.
The problem is that some of those same chemical reactions are crucial to mounting a defense against the COVID-19 virus, causing a person with COVID-19, who is taking NSAIDs to have much more severe symptoms than they might otherwise have.
Also, if you are trying to isolate your elderly relatives from any possible infection and you are taking groceries to their home, it is best to have them leave the package on the front step or in the garage for at least 2 hours. At this time of year, the combination of passage of time and relatively low temperature will greatly decrease the survival of any organisms that you may have left there in preparing and delivering the package, greatly lowering the chance of infecting the recipient of the package.
To learn more about this and many other health topics, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians’ website familydoctor.org, where you can click on the Search box in the upper right corner of the website, and enter your topic of interest.
I want to thank Debra B. for her question. If you have any particular topic you would like to hear more about, please message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.