The official guidelines on how to treat coronavirus symptoms at home have changed again, with patients now being informed that they can take paracetamol or ibuprofen.
This comes after the NHS recommended paracetamol as the pain reliever of choice last month, when anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen could worsen Covid-19 infection.
A national shortage of paracetamol was reported soon after.
This week, a new opinion was issued to the NHS after the Commission for Medicinal Products for Human Use conducted an expert review on the safety of ibuprofen.
The review concluded that “there is currently insufficient evidence to establish a link between the use of ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the contraction or worsening of Covid -19 “.
The current public opinion is therefore as follows: “Patients can take paracetamol or ibuprofen when self-medication for symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever and headache, and should follow NHS advice if they have questions or if the symptoms worsen. “
The new board has been approved by the NHS England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
There is more detailed advice on the government website, including information about patients with stomach, kidney and heart problems.
Last month, experts told FactCheck that paracetamol is generally less likely to cause side effects than anti-inflammatory drugs.
NHS advice not updated
The NHS web page advising patients on the use of paracetamol had not been updated to reflect the new advice, several days after the policy change.
At the time of writing, the page still says “take paracetamol to treat symptoms of coronavirus”.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Welfare told FactCheck that advice on using paracetamol or ibuprofen was “the last position” and that they would contact the NHS to update the web page.