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COVID 19: fever-lowering synthetic drugs should be avoided

04:02 AM March 25, 2020

This is a reaction to the news that the World Health Organization has officially announced that people should avoid taking ibuprofen for COVID-19 symptoms. It is not only ibuprofen that should be avoided, but all fever-lowering ibuprofen-like synthetic drugs, including paracetamol or acetaminophen.

The main reason is that fever is a natural defensive response against infectious disease. Fever is an ancient, evolutionary survival mechanism that is jeopardized by antifever synthetic drugs. Fever stimulates the innate and adaptive immune responses of the sick person, including the activation and mobilization of defensive cells and endogenous chemicals of that person to assume multiple roles toward the path of recovery and harmony with the environment.

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The use of antipyretic drugs to diminish fever may increase mortality in human populations with viral infection, and it negatively affects patient outcomes in the intensive care unit. A variety of NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen) have been shown to inhibit the antibody production in human cells. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen have also been shown to interfere with anti-viral immune functions, influencing the duration of viral shedding in rhinovirus-infected humans.

ROMEO F. QUIJANO, M.D.,

FEATURED STORIES
OPINION

retired professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology,

College of Medicine,

University of the Philippines Manila

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