Danish Medicines Agency initiates COVID-19 data analyses

27 March 2020

What is the drug consumption and medical history of Danish COVID-19 patients? And does the use of certain painkillers, including ibuprofen, affect the disease course of COVID-19?

The Danish Medicines Agency has just initiated two data analysis projects which are to expand the authorities’ possibilities of gaining data-driven knowledge about the current COVID-19 outbreak in Denmark.

One project will examine how medicines affect the disease course of COVID-19 patients. This project will source data from all patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Denmark, examining their drug consumption and medical history with a view to establishing if the drug consumption affects the development of the disease.

“The project will enable the Danish authorities to analyse real-time data from the COVID-19 outbreak in Denmark. It will give us fast knowledge both about the patients who were already taking medicines at symptom onset and about whether certain types of medicines might adversely affect the COVID-19 disease and its course,” said Nikolai Brun medical director in the Danish Medicines Agency.

Ibuprofen’s effect on COVID-19

The other project will examine the hypothesis that the so-called NSAID products used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, such as ibuprofen headache tablets, may affect the disease course of COVID-19. The analysis will be organised to look at data from all patients who from 2010 to 2018 were hospitalised with viral pneumonia caused by for example influenza. These data will be compared with data about the patients’ use of NSAID products.

The information from this study will be compared with the conclusions on the drug consumption of COVID-19 patients with a view to broaden our knowledge about whether NSAID products have an effect on the disease course of COVID-19. 

Project organisation

Data for the projects will be supplied by the SSI (Statens Serum Institut) and the Danish Health Data Authority. It is intended that the data structure, once established, can be reused in other COVID-19 studies considered relevant by the health authorities.

The Danish Medicines Agency’s Data Analytics Center (DAC) is project owner, and Anton Pottegård, Professor at the University of Southern Denmark, will fill the role as project manager on behalf of the Danish Medicines Agency.

The project is managed by a steering group consisting of the Danish Medicines Agency, the SSI, the Danish Health Data Authority, the Danish Health Authority, Danish Patients, a representative from the universities and a representative from Danish Regions. Epidemiologists from the University of Southern Denmark, Aarhus University and the SSI will be carrying out the concrete analyses.

Please send an e-mail here in case of questions or specific suggestions for analysis collaborations.