New data analysis: Ibuprofen does not worsen COVID-19 infection

09 September 2020

The use of ibuprofen and other pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs, the so-called NSAIDs, is not associated with mortality or worsening of symptoms in patients infected with coronavirus contrary to the concerns reported by some media and social media back in March.

In spring 2020, social media and certain other media reported that ibuprofen and other pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs, the so-called NSAIDs, might be associated with an increased risk of serious adverse reactions in patients with acute respiratory infections – including COVID-19. 

However, a recently published study undertaken by the University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Medicines Agency’s Data Analytics Center, etc. has found no association between the use of NSAIDs and serious adverse reactions in COVID-19 patients.

No statistically significant difference

A total of 9,326 Danish patients infected with COVID-19 in the period between 27 February and 29 April participated in the study. Of these patients, 248 were taking an NSAID drug.

The results below show that there is no statistically significant difference between the patients using NSAIDs and the patients not using NSAIDs.


Patients using NSAIDs

Patients not using NSAIDs


6 per cent

6 per cent


21 per cent

25 per cent

Intensive care admissions

5 per cent

5 per cent

The study confirms the European Medicines Agency’s announcement in March this year that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that ibuprofen worsens the condition of patients infected with COVID-19.


NSAID is an abbreviation for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. Non-steroidal means that these drugs do not contain steroids (corticosteroids), unlike prednisolone and hydrocortisone for example. The drugs are effective against swelling, pain, soreness, redness and improve the mobility in inflammatory conditions like rheumatic disorders. 

The study in brief

Data for the projects were supplied by the SSI (Statens Serum Institut) and the Danish Health Data Authority.

The Danish Medicines Agency’s Data Analytics Center is the project owner of the study, and the study was led by Anton Pottegård, Professor at the University of Southern Denmark, on behalf of the Danish Medicines Agency.

Read more:

Announcement from the Danish Medicines Agency on 18 March 2020 – EMA: No evidence linking ibuprofen to worsening of COVID-19

Announcement from the European Medicines Agency on 18 March 2020 – EMA gives advice on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories for COVID-19

More about the Danish Medicines Agency’s Data Analytics Center.